The search for ideal products & process

Does the medium matter?

I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter what software you use. That if you’re a good designer, your tools don’t matter. Implying that if you have issues with hardware and software, that you’re just a bad designer.

Well in that case, then I’m the worst designer ever. I will forever compare and tell you why some tools are better than others. I love technology. Love testing new gadgets, new apps and finding out what I can do with it? What are the capabilities and limitations…ultimately,

…what are the possibilities?

Personally, I believe you should be able to create in any medium.

You need to know the limitations of each medium or tool. So that when you have to create something specific, you know exactly which tool in your toolbox will work best to ensure the desired results in the shortest amount of time.

— That applies to design.

But when it comes to art, that’s a different story…

Take for instance the photorealism of an airbrush painting compared to charcoal. Yes, you can make a charcoal drawing as realistic as you want, but ultimately, it’s black and white. Real life isn’t black and white. And for perfect mirror-like superrealism …colour is best. Unless you’re Chuck Close, then you’re a master of any medium.

Chuck Close created by hand with various mediums & techniques…

Check out the large scale artworks created using only ballpoint pens & crosshatching technique by Spanish artist Juan Francisco Casas

…And compare with the digital awesomeness of Sam Sprat:

All 3 artists above are artists in their own right. And their tools don’t matter. They will still be artists no matter what tool they choose to use.

The awesomeness of Chuck Close

Chuck Close used a grid layout on large format printed portraits to be able to see the detail dot for dot/ pixel by pixel. Working meticulously from the corner of the grid. He was inspired to create portraits due to a cognitive disorder, “prosopagnosia”, meaning he is unable to recognise faces. By recreating portraits he was able to remember faces.

His first tools consisted of an airbrush, razor blade, rags, an eraser mounted on a power drill and a tube of mars black acrylic. His early airbrush techniques, created from a series of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) inspired the development of the ink jet printer.

Mark (1978–1979), acrylic on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Detail at right of eye. Chuck Close earlier style : Photorealistic painting imitating CMYK colour printing. Created from a series of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black)…his technique inspired the creation of the laser jet ink printer

In 1988, a spinal artery collapse left him paralysed. But, that didn’t stop him. He continued to paint. Brush strapped to wrist with tape, creating large portraits in low-res grid squares created by an assistant.

The artwork appears as a single, pixelated image from a distance and abstract up close. Although the paralysis restricted his ability to paint as precise as before, he pushed on. A new style emerged through his persistence to continue painting. Chuck Close never allowed tools or his condition to limit his art.

Lucas (1986–1987), oil and graphite on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Detail at right of eye. The painting’s subject is fellow artist Lucas Samaras.

Prior to his accident, he always made the task harder for himself by adopting materials and techniques that were harder or almost impossible to achieve a photorealistic effect.

“Far more interesting than problem solving is problem creation.” 
 ― Chuck Close

I don’t doubt that all above mentioned artists, can create the same quality work in any medium. And this is inspiring.

But can I compare my tools to artist tools? I’m still creating aren’t I?

…But it isn’t art.

Design is different...


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