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Everything these days is just a single digital click away, like for e.g.: one doesn’t need to go to a store to shop for a particular dress or buy groceries or even window shop. One can easily do all that through the virtual world. When everything else we do is via a cyber-avatar, how can art and photography are left behind. There was a time giving photo touchups digitally was a novelty. Nowadays with the enormous strides taken in digital media technologies, movie graphics no longer look artificial but are done in such a believable way that one is left puzzled wondering if it is real life or digital?
In a nutshell if we have to describe Digital Art, we can say that it is an artistic creation or preparation that uses digital technology as an essential part of the creative or presentation process. Since the 1970s, various names have been used to describe the process including computer art and multimedia art.
Today SOUL talks to a celebrated Digital Artist, Dolores Kaufman from USA, who has received numerous awards while exhibiting her work both in the U.S. and various other venues around the world. In 2012, she was chosen one of 17 Grand Masters of Digital Art by MOCA: the Museum of Computer Art. In addition, her work has been featured in numerous publications.
S: Who is Dolores Kaufman? Tell us something about yourself?
DK: Hmm, I am a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art and Case Western Reserve University. I began my career as a visual artist with a one woman show at the Women’s City Club Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio. My early works were large colorful abstracts, but within a few years I became caught up in the excitement of photography and never looked back, well, at least not with a paintbrush.
S: Tell us about your early years of work?
DK: In the late 1970’s and 80’s I showed my black & white photographs in group and juried shows, including the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Juried May Shows. During those years I earned my living teaching Art and Photography at both public and private schools. In 1983 I was included in “Portfolio ’83, a juried selection of visual artists in the Cleveland Area”. From 1982-1986, I was a Lecturer in Photography at Case Western Reserve University, and in 1987 I left teaching to join another photographer, Bill Braden, in a commercial photography studio which later became Braden & Kaufman. In 1995 our studio made the decision to purchase a PowerMac system in order to gain more control over our images and I taught myself digital imaging, which eventually led to experiments in the use of digital technology in my personal work. Soon digital imaging became my primary medium. I now use pixels and light as well as specialized tools to create my art rather than a paintbrush or camera.
S: What’s your take on Art in general?
DK: Art is primarily an experience – for both the artist and the observer. It is a trip we take though our imagination into the past, to the present, and into the future. It’s a mind game, a puzzle, an inquiry of what-if’s and what-else’s. With Art we can both lose ourselves and find ourselves in a world of infinite possibilities. For me, art is a dance that includes artist, subject, and medium.
Each contributes inspiration toward the final result as we take turns leading and following. If I, as the artist, let subject and medium speak to me and through me I also become the medium. For me the word “medium” is closely associated to its use in the occult, so it is my way of conversing with past, present and future.
S: And how do you perceive Digital Media specifically?
DK: Digital media is a great source of artistic alchemy, allowing me to transform ordinary objects into an extra-ordinary experience. What I seek in my explorations is an evocation of the mystery and symbolism embedded in the seemingly mundane ephemera with which we share our lives. Damian Jones, in his blog on fractal art says,
“Fractal art is an art form that combines the precision of mathematical logic, the surprise of chaotic systems, and the passion of artistic expression.”
S: What tools do you use to create your digital imagery?
DK: As an artist with dual interests in photography and painting I can combine both through the use of a computer. For my own purposes I have chosen to exploit the computer’s inherently transformative powers in order to create a synthesis between disciplines. I often work in series using a single photograph as ‘parent’ and call the resulting images ‘Photographic Transmutations’. My primary tool is Kai’s Power Tools Hyperlink, which allows me to slowly adjust a number of parameters until an entirely new and unique image is created from its’ “parent”. Another of Kai’s Tools I like to use is a variation on fractal art called Frax4D. These I often refer to as ‘Digital Alchemy’.
For further information on Dolores Kaufman’s works, awards or to purchase, you can visit her website http://dolores-kaufman.artistwebsites.com/index.html
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