A Programmer's Perspective on Art

I spent time on this project, I swear!

final project: game development process

This is a video documenting part of the process it took to create the game I made for my final in this class. If you have trouble viewing the video you can watch it here as well.

What digital art means: rethought

In the beginning of the semester I was asked what I thought digital approaches to fine art meant.  At the time I didn’t know much about art and I remember writing something to the effect that digital approaches to fine art meant using Adobe products to generate art. I still don’t know much about art but I feel confident stating I know a lot more than I did a few months ago. If asked that question now, given the knowledge I’ve acquired this semester, I would answer it a little differently. I would say that digital approaches to fine art is using digital media to create, expose, showcase,  or even view art. Not only does using Adobe products constitute producing digital art, but creating an interactive webpage that displays art, even if that art was created using non-digital means, could be put under the umbrella of digital art. Digital art is a much more vast category than I had perceived a few months ago and the journey I took to come to that  meager conclusion was messy but full of creativity and fun.

Stephen Vitiello

Stephen Vitiello is the first sound artist we have looked at.  He uses sound found in everyday life – atmospheric sound – combined with electronic sound to compose beautiful pieces of music. His sound art has been used in Independent Films, Art Galleries, and in various video projects. From watching an interview of him it’s easy to gather that he is very passionate about his trade. He described his struggle with viewing the world through his eyes and how viewing the world through a lens of sound was more natural for him. His passion for sound a music translates into amazing compositions that soothe and captivate the listener. The piece I liked the  most was Glass Marimba Frog Caller which can be found here. I really liked the calming effect the music had on me. I also thought it was interesting how he was able to combine the melody of the Glass Marimba so seamlessly with the sound effects. This was the first sound artist we looked at and, after listening to his music, I really wish we had looked at more!


This animation uses screenshots from the game The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

Paul Pfeiffer

Pfieffer is a video artist who uses cutting edge technology to create videos which captivate the viewer visually as well as intellectually. He edits video extensively and seems to focus on taking out or disguising certain aspects of the original piece to create something more interesting.  An example would be his, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, photo series in which he edited out all the players in a basketball game except for one. Another would be, The Long Count, which is a video of a boxing match which was edited so that the boxers appear to be about 80% invisible – which made the collision of the boxers and the edge or the ring rope a lot more exciting.

I absolutely loved Pfieffer’s video’s and, in my opinion, his process to achieve his end goal was spectacular. Accomplishing tasks such as making boxers appear to be invisible In a boxing video must be the work of a true craftsman. He obviously spent a lot of time on each piece because, as stated at the beginning of this blog post, each piece not only captivates the imagination but also the intellect. His art draws attention to the mass media in the modern age – especially to the sport media. Pfieffer is my favorite video artist out of all the ones we’ve had to view so far – and with good reason.

GIF Animation

Bill Viola

Bill Viola is a video artist who specializes in the dramatization of a single moment.  He was born in 1951 and grew up in Queen’s, New York and graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in Fine Arts.  He is a master at using ultra slow motion in his art – and the two concepts he seems most interested in are water and emotion. An example of his use of slow motion and water would be Reflecting Pool – where he uses slow motion, water and the suspense of time to create an intriguing video. A good example of his emphasis and dramatization of emotion would be The Quintet of the Astonished – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR9av-I35ME – which is a 47 second video of five people emoting astonishment in super duper slow motion….it is epic.

I think this is the first video artist whose art I’ve been able to understand easily. His use of slow motion and emphasis on the grandiose is something our current society is used to already, so viewing his art lead me to a comfortable place I’ve visited before – thanks to Hollywood. My favorite piece of his was definitely The Quintet of the Astonished (video linked above), and I think that is because there is so much going on in that piece. The people are reacting strongly to some outside stimuli, that the viewer cannot see, and each of them is reacting in his/her own way. Especially the guy in the back who seems to not be astonished at all during the whole video – to the contrary he looks as if he is in his happy place or something, which brings a new layer of intrigue to the piece. Bill Viola may use cheesy techniques such as slow motion to grab his audiences attention, however he does it in such an elegant way that his pieces don’t suffer from it.

Jenny Holzer


Jenny Holzer’s work focuses on the use of text in photos. She was born in 1950 in Gallipolis Ohio.  She received her education from many schools: Ohio University, Rhode Island School of Design, and also participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art.  She was a member of a group named Colab – short for Collaborative Projects which was a New York City artists’ group formed in 1977.

Text is a critical part of her pieces. In her Projections project she uses text and projects it onto a building, or reflects it in water to create a dynamic photo. I also noticed that the text, when strung together for each city, formed a poem. The project’s duration is over more than ten years, took place in three continents and in more than ten countries, including: Italy, Spain, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, England, the United States, Austria and Ireland.  Now THAT is dedication.

I really liked this artist. She used the landscape and thoughtfully chose the text to display to create great photos. I’m not sure if the poems in her photos are ones she wrote herself, however I think that they are because I couldn’t find them published – every hit I got when I searched for it was referencing her work. My favorite piece was the Florence – 1996 city projection piece. That piece interested me not only because I was living in Italy at the time she photographed it but also because it engaged me. I had fun translating part of the text, discovering it was a poem, and then trying to excavate where it was from and who wrote it. I roughly translated it to:

You are my own

I’m losing ground

I lie

I can not stand

I am losing time


I smell you on my skin

Breathe your breath

I cover you

I am crying hard

There was blood

No one told me

No one Knew

My mother knows

There was blood

No one told me

No one knew

However, I found the full version on someone’s blog – http://www.ricksteves.com/jackiesteves/index.cfm?fuseaction=entry&entryID=18. The blogger stated that she had found the poem on a bench while visiting the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of Modern art. The benches are very beautifully engraved with verses from the poem. Jenny Holzer obviously put a lot of thought and effort into her pieces and it shows – she is a master at her craft.




Jeff Baij

Baij’s art is very pleasing to the eye. He uses repetition and perspective to draw the viewer into his piece. His Small File piece is a great example of his use of repetition.  Unlike some of the previous artists I’ve been asked to critique, it seems like Baij’s art does not require me to know the purpose or back story of the piece in order to appreciate it as art. In fact, his art tells a story in itself – a great example would be Space Stories (which happens to be my favorite).  The story is simplistic, and again he uses repetition, however it allows the viewer to fill in the blanks and create their own story to accompany the art.

I honestly really enjoyed Baij’s art. It was simplistic in that it was easy to understand but also complex in that it had the power to captivate and engage the viewer with very little effort. As i stated above Space Stories was my favorite piece of his and I think it’s because the color scheme he used fit very well between every image and each one practiced every design principle I have learned in this class including: economy, repetition, balance, variety, etc…I really liked this artist.

Robin Rhode

Robin Rhode is a master illusionist. Most of his art features street chalk graffiti to create an illusion of a surreal world. In a lot of his pieces, Rhode drew an object on the street in chalk, and then proceeded to interact with the drawn object as if it were real. The illusion was that it looked like he was actually interacting with the chalk object because he would pose a scene, take a picture and string a bunch of said pictures together to form an animation. Much like those comics you which require you to flip through the pages to see an animation take place. For example, one of Rhode’s pieces was of him interacting with a chalk drawn half-pipe – he created the illusion that he was skating up and down the half-pipe doing tricks.

I really enjoyed Rhode’s work. I thought a lot of the things he did were really cool because It took the phrase “use your imagination” to a whole new level. I remember when I was a kid and my mom used to tell me to use my imagination when she was really busy and didn’t have the time or energy to entertain me. The work Rhode did with the chalk and interacting with it seemed to me like a really good way I could have entertained myself all those years ago. I found it very inspiring how he took something so primitive, and created something spectacular using it.