After months of struggle, I think I finally got my groove back.
I had long ago won my battles with a horde of digital demons and a host of unbelievers, creating a body of work which proved to me (and many others, apparently) that the computer was an art medium to be reckoned with. In my view, a work called Origami settled the argument, once and for all, whether digital art was Real Art – you know, world class art; big league art. Not the ‘push button art’ that many painters and printmakers have long derided it as. ‘Nuff said.
But that work was completed over three years ago.
Sensing a lack of interest in the work in So-Cal galleries I reached out to (ahhh, the look of horror on their faces when I mentioned the word digital), I put my photoshop files in storage and turned to writing. I was enjoying some success as a blogger and had gotten more than halfway through a memoir when I received a phone call…… I was asked to join a team of educators who were setting up shop in a place called Second Life, some sort of virtual world, from what I could tell. I vaguely recall reading Snow Crash back in the 90s, but other than that it was all a blank slate.
That call would change my life, though, and after months of wandering SL in search of art and artists, I began to realize that this was a new world full of artists – no, creatives – with a collective pool of creative energy unlike anything I had encountered in First Life (Meat Life, Real Life). I set about trying to find a new paradigm; a new art medium on its own terms – not something dragged in from the 20th century and superimposed on this brave new world, but something entirely new. Something that would capture the new consciousness that occurs when the human mind is set free in a virtual world.
Now, I can’t say that I’ve done that, or that I will be the one to even come close to it; but it is the task ahead of us, as I see it, and it will likely be a collaborative venture. I am, I fully realize, a mid-20th century guy, a 2D guy; one who still wants to have his giant pop expressionist paintings hanging on a gallery wall somewhere in downtown Manhattan, regardless of how they are arrived at; so, the heavy lifting I will leave to the artists of the future. For now, for me, it’s about fun… it’s the greatest adventure any artist could wish for: to be present at the dawning of a new era in human cultural evolution, and to be able to get my two cents in as it unfolds before our eyes.
So, as I see it, folks, we got a show to do; and this one looks like it’s gonna be a bitch.
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Image at the top: first in a new series by Chrome Underwood, called Seven Eleven. Since this digital thing is basically a numbers game, the images will focus on the human form as ’embodied’ in the avatar, while the titles will acknowledge the fact they are all built of numbers – much like the intangible, immeasurable basis of human reality as seen in quantum theory, and that even stickier idea known as string theory. Hindus sum it all up with the word maya.