Wednesday, 25 March 2015

LAN/Onlincolnshire workshop - Paul Wilson blogging

This week is a busy week, with 2 workshops to finish the LAN/Onlincolnshire collaborative professional development for artists and illustrators before a break for Easter.
Tuesday's workshop introduced Paul Wilson to share his insights into blogging for artists ranging from the internet uninitiated, to those currently using blogs as part of their 3rd year illustration degree criteria, to gain useful insights into how to use them successfully, to those of us that are already experienced bloggers wishing to generate an income for sharing knowledge and expertise online as tutorials or publishing information, affiliate links, including ads alongside content, and getting paid for writing content for other people's blogs and websites. 
For artists and illustrators, this might extend to the provision of images, photos and illustrations, and discussion included how difficult it is to get work included in image sourcing stock image reference sites and to generate income for your content.

Paul Wilson demonstrating useful blogging information
Photography of work in the current Viewpoints exhibition at The Collection is prohibited, hence we've blurred out the work - which pains to do, so go and see it yourself! 

LAN artists are a curious group!

As promised, here are links to LAN artist's blogs:
James Joy
Rebecca Reid
Sarah Yates
Rose Bowskill
Jessica Burrell
Helen Dearnley

The last LAN/Onlincolnshire workshop this Thursday is on graphic novels and self-publishing - all information for this will be included on Helen Dearnley's Illustration blog, so this is one way to get paid for your blog content!

Thanks to The Collection for the lovely lunch in the Stokes cafe for LAN artists and for having us in the gallery.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Curating Digital Art Exhibitions and the Use of Minecraft

As part of the current ongoing LAN/Onlincolnshire social media and digital workshops, this weeks' workshop explores Curating Digital Art Exhibitions and the Use of Minecraft.

As the printer has decided to stop working, the workshop sheet and other info is available via the LAN blog here.

LAN / Onlincolnshire workshops
Helen Dearnley LAN Director

Curating Digital Art Exhibitions and the Use of Minecraft

Introductory session – add details to the LAN mailing list and invite artists to briefly speak about their work.

Kristoffer Zetterstrand:
A Swedish artist whose classical styled paintings feature in the popular computer game Minecraft, which was founded by his former brother-in-law.
His paintings are often figurative works or virtual still lives created in 3D software, in which he often incorporates pixellated computer game sprites and icons, for example, his debut show in 2002 featured imagery from Counter Strike.

In Minecraft, it is possible to create art work that is then imported into the game, which can then be included in exhibitions.
The use of software such as Spritecraft, or images can be pixellated in Photoshop, then imported. Forums recommend Gimp.

Curating exhibitions in Minecraft
As an example, a house was adapted into a gallery by replacing the original cobblestone walls with quartz stone blocks and white coloured clay to create a white walled space in which to hang paintings.

Gallery in Minecraft showing work by Kristoffer Zetterstrand
Recreation of a Jeremy Deller piece made with a sign
Exhibition curation showing differing exhibits

In this village, the villagers don’t come out to this house, so the gallery has no audience.
The possibility of creating more conceptual works using in-game architecture, items and mechanics could also include creating installations and site-specific work.

Another smaller gallery space was built next to a zombie spawn trap.
The zombies are enabled to come out of the spawn room and into the gallery to view the paintings. There is a sign next to the exit that reads “If you do not like this exhibition, exit here”. 

Zombies entering the gallery from the zombie spawner
Zombie in gallery contemplating the work.

The zombies then pass through a room containing snow golems, who throw snowballs at the zombies, and then follow into the mob trap.
The zombies therefore experience a cultural experience that gives a purpose to their existence. This works in survival mode, but not in peaceful mode.
Iron golems and snow golems are used as gallery invigilators, and villager visitors.
Invite artists to discuss ideas about creating a multi-player world in which we can organise group shows in Minecraft.

Creating new work in Minecraft using game resources.
Rather than merely import images into Minecraft, I have created a studio space in which to experiment with the resources and game mechanics, such as building sculptures out of haystacks, displaying items in Item Frames as gallery exhibits, using flower pots, crafting quartz stone pillars to use as plinths, etc. The idea of building 3D pixellated sculptures out of blocks of gold, lapis lazuli, iron, emerald, coal, or in fact coloured wool, glowstone and redstone is entirely possible.

Pixellated sculptural piece "Miner Willy" from Manic Miner

"Miner Willy" shown at night in Minecraft
The use of redstone devices to create kinetic or mechanical pieces is worth exploring. For instance, in my studio, I used redstone powered noteblocks to create a sound piece.

Redstone powered noteblocks to create sound art

A redstone circuit powers the noteblocks

In this sense, mods are key to being able to programme existing game mechanics to create art work in Minecraft.

I came up with a mob to provide artist’s materials. It was called an “Akryll” and resembles a squid or a ghast, but it spawns in the sky at night, and drops acrylic paint. This mob could be coded and created to exist along with other existing inhabitants, including mooshrooms.

Tate Worlds maps import existing paintings into Minecraft that are created into Minecraft maps, creating virtual landscapes.

Online and offline

The obvious benefits of being able to use creative mode to build large scale sculptural work that can exist virtually and for testing out ideas is that there are no actual materials costs, other than the cost of the games console, Minecraft game software, power and internet usage where required.

Importing existing artwork into Minecraft, which is then pixellated and exists in the game is an example of real work becoming a virtual entity.

The reverse of this would be to create art in Minecraft, for instance, it could be a screen shot of a sculpture created out of lapis lazuli, gold and coal, printed out as a photograph to be exhibited in a group show, or even 3D printed models of virtual creations. The most obvious of this is Minecraft Lego.

Gadget Show tech geek and visiting lecturer Jason Bradbury uses Minecraft to illustrate information for his guest talk at the Onlincolnshire Digital Conference. 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Viewpoints Exhibition @ The Collection

As part of our current LAN/Onlincolnshire workshops at The Collection, the first workshop on social media and digital technology included making use of the recent addition of wi-fi in the gallery space at The Collection.

There seem to be a few teething problems with connectivity via iphone on twitter, so feedback was given and we hope this will enable the museum to ensure that visitors can be able to tweet in the space and connect digitally during their visits.
This could be useful for seeking references on artists being exhibited, links to websites and other information that can be accessed directly while looking at work in the gallery, along with digitally interactive art work.

LAN artists have gained some useful knowledge about using twitter and hashtags to raise awareness of their work, to promote their work to reach audiences, gain commissions, and building followers.

We were involved in Lincolnshire Digital Conference and their hashtag #godigital15, which created a huge twitter presence and raised the profile of attendees online, as well as spamming twitter with many Jason Bradbury selfies!
As part of the Collection's current Viewpoints exhibition hashtag #myviewpoint we conducted some live tweeting in the gallery to share our thoughts and opinions on the work exhibited, and here we're collecting some that we hope will tie in with the comments for the exhibition. 

Discussion surrounding the photographic print by Richard Billingham "Untitled" 1995, some comments by Sarah Yates reflecting on the mood of the photo, the deliberately lo-fi exposure to reflect something about the subject, to capture the reality of the scenario. 
Illustrator Rose Bowskill saw it as an early internet cat meme, interested in the relationship between the man and the cat hiding behind rows of ornaments in the image.

A lot of visitors were drawn to Roger Ackling's Five Hour Cloud Drawing, 1980, in particular, the way it had been created that works like a printer, layered lines to form a circular image, described as sunlight on card - like a solar printer to build up the image over time, following on from Jason Bradbury's talk with early ZXSpectrum computer technology, it's reminiscent of waiting for an old ZXSpectrum game to load. Further discussion about the graphic nature of the image. 

A tweet with Helen Dearnley's thoughts on Jeremy Deller's proposal for Dr David Kelly for the Fourth Plinth is encouraging for artists that have been on the recieving end of those all too ubiquitous rejection letters / emails, to see that even very well known artists get rejected, but also that the rejection is still shown somewhere in displaying it as part of the exhibition. 

Cartoonist James was interested in an old painting of Lincoln showing the city included the Brayford Pool before the area became built up with modern buildings, to see how the city has changed over time. 

Please do tweet us @lincolnan if you'd like something to be added to this blog! And you can use The Collection hashtag #myviewpoints to engage with the conversation.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Lincolnshire Digital Conference 2015

The Showroom went a bit mental in Maplin!
Due to the current collaboration with Onlincolnshire, we were invited to the Lincolnshire Digital Conference 2015, at The Showroom, Lincoln.

Mike Poole explains 3D printing technology at Lincolnshire Technology Hubs

Jason Bradbury introduces himself via gadgets

Jason presents his talk on a "hoverboard"
Jason's first hoverboard made in Lincoln

Jason is currently building a DeLorean for the anniversary of Back To The Future coming up in October this year. We predict that Lincolnshire County Council will increase parking charges for time machines, and that he should build a 1985 parking meter and park on 1980s rates!

Using Minecraft to illustrate quotes and statistics

Monday, 9 March 2015