The Internet. As with any other newly introduced creative landscape, the artists who grapple with it tend to fall into two camps: those who lament its dominance over our visual culture, and those who embrace it. Two projects of the latter variety have recently come to our attention.
Janet is a classically trained portrait artist who has decided to tackle a distinctly UNclassical subject: videochat! In her past work, Janet has been consistently intrigued by the types of relation ships particular to portraiture. Unlike a photograph, a finished painting represents a significant passage of time, and can reflect the dynamic intimacy between painter and sitter. The advent of videochat complicates this relationship by introducing an element of self-awareness coupled with remote interaction — a duality that dramatically frames the nature of our common, contemporary interaction. Her Kickstarter project strives to "examine the tenuous, technology, strange intimacy, and charged emotions around communicating remotely, by making the archaic oil portraiture tradition site-unspecific and international in a way that, if anything, makes it more personalized." She's offering backers a print of their own custom oil portrait for a $50 pledge and their simple willingness to sit for it over videochat.
Evan DeSpelder wants to paint your pictures. Specifically, he wants to create digital abstractions of your pictures, and then turn them into large format, wildly surreal oil paintings. He defines his style as a "photorealist version of abstract expressionism," and his subject matter has previously ranged from the overtly political to more personal ruminations on his role as an artist. Using Kickstarter, he hopes to expand his repertoire to include the ideas, images, and personal artifacts of a wider community. We are admittedly curious to know what a portrait of the Kickstarter office would look like!