To create is to explore. This is a simple fact. It’s easy to accept this fact but difficult to embrace. There is a fear of trying and failing, of wasting time and accomplishing nothing worthwhile. I think linearly, work linearly and try to stay focused on a clear goal at the finish line. Linear thought is great for production work but not so good for the creative process. Sometimes the end goal isn’t clear and that’s the point.
Fear of failure can paralyze creativity. I found some solace in reading “Art and Fear” while on vacation. I am not alone in my fears. The point is to keep doing, exploring, creating, making, and experimenting.
Exploration Atlantis, printed on brushed metal is both the result of a creative exploration and the start to many more creative journeys.
This is a digital comp of the Exploration Atlantis on metal.
First Successful HDR Composite Image
I started experimenting with HDR composites last year. I wrote about the process in this article, Sidewalk Salvation. Exploration Atlantis was the first composite image I created that I really liked.
This is what the image looked like originally.
I was pretty happy with the textures, the colors and the surreal scene created with the under water look. I was excited enough to share the image with a mentor. I asked him if the composite concept was worth pursuing. He assured me it was, told me he liked the image but wished the composition was a little tighter.
I considered his advice and came up with a better workflow. I used the new workflow going forward, but didn’t return to the Atlantis image until later.
Chosing an image for Insight on Metal Photo Art Show
Joe Nalven coordinated the Insight on Metal show for our PhotoArts group. Joe has explored images on metal for several years. He encourages PAG members to explore the possibilities. I was intrigued but unsure. I’ve seen many photographs and digital art pieces printed on metal. The images that stand out in my mind are the ones that look like they belong on metal. I needed a ‘reason’ to print an image on metal. It didn’t make sense to just print any pretty image on metal just because I could.
Joe sent me this email, “I know you’ve been waffling on signing up for the metal show. But I think it is worth doing.” I needed that kick in the pants, but I also needed an image with a ‘reason’ to live on metal.
I started thinking about the uncertainty of the process, the experimental nature of it, the fear of ending up with something I wouldn’t like, and from that I discovered my ‘reason’.
Exploration Atlantis jump started the HDR composite process, it would also jump start my exploration into print on metal.
Once I decided on the image I went to work recreating it. Using my improved workflow I was able to tighten up the composition. I also completely reworked the color.
My previous production work experience with a trading card company helped. High value collectable trading cards are often printed on foil board. I worked on Yugioh, Marvel, DC and professional sports brands so I am familiar with how ink looks on foil. A photograph printed on metal is very similar.
Image shown without metal background.
I made the highlight areas completely white and the colors extra saturated. The new finished image actually looks pretty bad without the metal background. This is how it should be. The image now belongs on metal because it won’t work printed on white paper.
The final piece on metal is beautiful. I am very proud of it and excited to hang it in the Insight on Metal show.
Insight on Metal PAG group exhibit runs from March 4th – April 11, 2011 at Calumet Photographic in Escondido, CA.
QR Codes – What does a QR code have to do with this exploration?
PAG member Larny Mack introduced me to QR Codes. I was surprised and disappointed in myself for not knowing about them sooner. Larny has written a couple very good articles explaining the QR Code possibilities.
I write an article every time I participate in a new PAG show. The QR code has the power to direct a viewer in the gallery back to the article on my website. With a smart phone and a free ap, my article can be viewed almost instantly.
I am embracing this technology for the first time in the Insight on Metal Show. I almost didn’t. QR codes provide direct access to websites viewed on a mobile device. My website is not yet mobile optimized. I know it should be, but I am done being paralyzed by excuses.
So the process isn’t perfect. It’s an exploration, a work in progress and that is the point.
What ideas are you exploring? Did you find me from the QR code on the wall next to my image? If so, leave a comment and let me know.