MobileArtCon Begins This Month
While discussing iPad/iPhone art with mobile artist Matthew Watkins for an Escape Into Life Feature earlier this year, I was struck most by how genuinely well-suited to creative exploration mobile media is. After all, iOS art cannot be bought and sold in the traditional sense, has few to no recurring material fees, and allows for painlessly simple correction of “mistakes”, not to mention endless fear-free experimentation. Certainly, as a result of these perks and the networking skills of tech-savvy folks, a large, genuinely inclusive community has developed around mobile art, eager to share daily doodles, finished work, and encouraging feedback. This is a community that is sure to make the second annual MobileArtCon, hosted by the International Association of Digital Artists (iAMDA) in New York City, one of the most inspiring art events of the year.
Beginning September 30th at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, mobile artists (including visual artists, musicians and filmmakers) from all over the world will be gathering to learn, create, and collaborate until October 2nd. The theme is “On the Move”, and the schedule will be packed with opportunities to try out new apps and creative tools, discussions on how artists benefit from mobile media, an Art Crawl, and workshops. Those offering workshops include Brooklyn figure painter David Kassan, the group i-MTL from Montreal, and Filmobile’s Max Schleser from New Zealand, who will be hosting a film class. The list of sponsors consists of Artrage, Autodesk, the Creators of Sketchbook, Taptrix, creators of Brushes and Inkpad for iPad, Nomad Brush, creators of the first paintbrush stylus for touchscreen devices, and Adobe.
With such a fine line-up of events and a sky’s-the-limit optimism for art, creating, and community, what artist could resist? (After all, is this not the sort of spirit that every arts scene or creative project should attempt to foster?) Even if one has never thought of an iPad as an artistic tool, the simple act of creative/artistic play, something so many of us abandon in childhood, can be unleashed with just a few strokes. Looking to create painterly effects? Digital patterns? Thin, watercolor-like layers? Imagine how many other styles and working methods this medium can support! The first time I started making patterns and overlaying colors with my fingers on a touch-screen, long after I was finished, a vibrant world of new color combinations and ideas was swirling about happily in my mind’s eye. I never even had to create anything “finished” enough to share with others to gather cheerful enlightenment from the experience and apply it to my paintings on canvas. Of course, as the iOS art community has proven, sharing the work with a receptive audience has a value all its own, and mobile art makes the process easier (and more friendly) than ever before. On yet another note, given all of the negative things we often end up doing with our technology, the iAMDA’s goals and the community-centered approach taken by people like Matthew Watkins is a vital step in encouraging us to forge a more productive relationship with our tech tools. Not only can iOS art and the upcoming MobileArtCon inspire us to take an active, creative role in our use of technology (rather than the prevalent role of isolated passive observer), but they create a firm bridge between modern tech and traditional methods and a healthy balance between social networking and face-to-face interactions that is beneficial for both the art world and the world at large.
Christina Wegman is a painter, freelance writer, music teacher, and art event coordinator currently residing in Alabama. Since she hosted her first one-woman art show in 2007, many of her paintings have been displayed in the “Unique Views of Huntsville” juried competition, and her work has been represented by several galleries and organizations. Born in Los Angeles, California, she has traveled widely throughout Europe and studied in both the U.S. and Canada, where she chronicled some of her thoughts on life and culture at Un Portrait De La Vie Moderne: A Culture Blog . Her current site is Abstract Träumerei.