jaybate's Gallery of College Basketball Paintography
Photo by Nick Krug/Paintograph
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Is this an app on your cell phone that does this? I have a similar app.
I use a number of different image manipulation apps--two on smart phones and a number of others on desktop, but I used neither of these smart phone apps on this particular image. Some times I run an image through two, or three, or more, image manipulation apps before getting it to where I want it.
My tendency with image manipulation software is to use routines within the apps to achieve effects that the routines were not intended to achieve.
Thus, I turn the software inside out in order to try to turn the image itself inside out. It is a technique that becomes organic on both levels. The goal is to release something unexpected from an image, but once seen unmistakeably intrinisic. Needless to say, I don't always succeed. :-)
The art is to make people perceive one hidden aspect of what lies implicit, not beneath the surface of an image (because there is nothing beneath an image), but within the surface composition of the image--within its spatial and color relationships.
The titles I use then act as a kind of verbal hypertext pointer, sometimes reinforcing what I find in the image, and sometimes undercutting it.
If I just use the routines as they were intended to be used, then it is like color by number painting. It achieves something mechanistic and without emotional transmission of any kind.
People often ask if what I am doing is just running an image through a software and producing something anyone else could do?
Here's how I explain it. Image manipulation software is like a set of brushes and paints. If I give each of us an identical set of brushes, paints and canvas, could we each come up with the same picture at the end? Answer: yes, at a very, very low probability, and only if we try to do so. Its the same with image manipulation software. If you and I try very hard to come up with the same picture with the same photo and the same image manipulation software, there is a low probability that we might come up with the same image, but only if we were really trying hard to come up with the same image.
I usually use the software not in unexpected ways, but instead in inintended ways. I am using the software to do things I want to do, regardless of what the programmer intended.
As a result, many of my pictures would be very difficult to duplicate exactly, except by simply copying them.
People also ask me is this really painting, or just copying? Answer: yes, its painting. It is just a different set of brushes and paints, varying levels of accuracy in replication.
Is it like oil painting? No, but oil painting, or any other kind of more traditional effect can be emulated, though I don't know why anyone would want to just for the sake of doing it. When I get ideas I want to paint with a brush, then I paint with acrylics, or clumpy water color paints, or oil.
My goal in image manipulation painting is to pursue images I would not pursue in any other media.
I'm never doing images just to be doing them. I'm never doing image manipulation images just to be doing image manipulation. I use a medium to try to get a particular effect.
Oil, acrylics and water color have always seemed fake for sports for reasons I cannot articulate. I don't relate at all to sports paintings in oil, acrylics and water color. I don't even really enjoy film based photography of sport anymore. Film based photography of natural landscapes has no substitute, because natural landscapes are fantastically complex analogue spaces. and it is very sad that few still use film to photograph nature.
But for some reason, digital portrayal of sporting events is very organic to the event of sport. Sport is an abstraction of human activity called a game. Games leave out much of the messy complexity of life. Games are played in abstract environments. Arenas and floors are geometric forms that leave out much of the natural world's messy complexity. The only things truly analogue in sports photography are the athletes and they themselves abstractions of humanity. They are those rare high points of talent and commitment and excellence. Though they themselves are analogue, within the human spectrum, they are very digital things.
Perhaps I should explain what I mean in using analogue and digital. Think of analogue as a smoothly undulating wave function that leaves out almost none of what it is a recording of. Next think of digital as an approximation of that curve using thousands of tiny squares that fill an area under the analogue curve. The squares can approximate the undulating analogue curve, but can never duplicate it exactly, because there is always a small angular space between the squares that abut the curve and the curve itself. This is information about the analogue event left out.
My eyes feel cheated at times by digital images of nature, or my ears feel cheated by digital recordings of sound, because of what they leave out under the analogue curve of a natural landscape, or a sound.
But my eyes like that some of the information is lost in digital recording of sports events.
It is all very subjective on my part, and I would doubt a lot of persons give two whoops and a damn about this, but for some reason I do. And it intrigues me so much I am attracted to image manipulation software to explore digitally captured and communicated imagery, because they all seem a part of the same soup that the event recorded is a part of. I am interested in exploring the threshold between the analogue and the real; that threshold is the digital.
I make more non-sports imagery than these basketball pics. These basketball paintographs are just my valentines to the game and Legacy I love. They are mostly based on the work of Nick Krug, who is an immensely gifted photographer to whom I am grateful to for letting me riff on his work.
I use the word riff intentionally, because for me working with image manipulation software is more like playing a musical instrument and releasing an image from a photo is more like releasing a melody from a musical instrument, than it like traditional painting.
I suppose to some extent working images in the way that I do is a little like certain painters like Jackson Pollack that were once called automatism painters. They drip painted not with preconception so much as a kind of feeling of what was happening and an attempt to try to play along with what was unfolding, whether they understood it rationally, or not.
I try to use image manipulation software without preconception of what will be released in the process of manipulating the image I start with. And while in my basketball paintographs I tend to start with photographic images, in my non basketball art I start with painting a blank page almost as often as I start with a photograph.
I call what I do banging the image manipulation software. By this I mean I am trying to use it the way a muscian might use a guitar, or a saxophone to try ways of playing it that the instrument was never really designed for. My hero in music is John Coltrane who found a way to bang his saxophone in ways that brought down sheets of sound kind of like sheets of rain in a storm.
The only hero I have in art is Picasso and it is not because of what he painted, but of what he said about how he painted. He said: "I do not look for art. I find it."
My eyes feel cheated at times by digital images of nature, or digital recordings of sound, because of what they leave out under the analogue curve of a natural landscape, or a sound.
I call what I do banging the image manipulation software. By this I mean I am trying to use it the way a muscian my use a guitar, or a saxophone to try ways of playing it that the instrument was never really designed for. My hero in music is John Coltrane who found a way to bang his saxophone in ways that brought down sheets of sound kind of like sheets of rain in a storm.
Put Picasso and Coltrane together and that is what I try to do with image manipulation software.
This particular image was done entirely with a very cheap software called pixemator on a desk top.
Well, let me take that back and say that I am always learning a great deal about composing images from painters of the Florentine Renaissance, and about colors from practically every painter. And my fav is Giotto for color, and Poussin for form language capable of portraying a time after a renaissance. We appear to live in such a time after all.
Put Picasso and Coltrane and Giotto and Poussin together and that is what is making me try to do with image manipulation software what I do.
I increasingly prefer cheap software, often old software, what some might now call crude, or primitive software. I like old software because the old software engineers were trained to be elegant in their routines, so they didn't try to over-tell users how to use the soft: they didn't try to limit the range of the variables much. Programming elegance can allow a tremendous lack of limits on how a routine can be "banged." Modern software is very task specific. It is written for dummies to use, so it is very specific and limited in what it can be used to do. I prefer softwares that have no top and bottom limit, but that when explored through the spectrum of their variables can come full circle on themselves in ways they were not intended to be used.
Of course, bottom line in my basketball images is to do them in a few minutes or less in a way that expresses a feeling I have at that moment about the game. They are supposed to emphasize spontaneity that is inherent in the sporting moment that Nick captures.
And don't worry. I don't think my paintographs are better than Nick Krug's photos. They are not meant to be. They are meant to be jazz musicians riff off Nick's riff. They are meant to be part of a visual jam session. This is one of the many untapped potentials of internet online communities. Story threads are often a verbal jam session. The imagery of photojournalism and the imagery of the net wants to become involved in a visual jam session, too. The imagery keeps creeping into the story threads. I am just trying another approach called an online gallery to call attention to the what can be released from an image. My secret hope, just between you and me, is that people begin to jam visually. There are many signs of it emerging as a nascent activity in what is posted to Facebook, etc. But the jamming is all still very static. I keep hoping someone one will either riff off Nick's photos and post them as responses to my responses, or that they will do the same thing with my images. But it has not happened yet. And that's okay, because I enjoy just making my own images.
Thanks for visiting the gallery.
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