Final Project and Reflection

Link to Final Project Blog,  complete with About section and Everything!(Video can also be found on blog):

My Video:

Final Project Reflection:

Ok. I have been putting off writing this because I have very mixed feelings about the product I created. In terms of creating a teaching tool for students, would I use this video for my hypothetical flipped classroom? Maybe… not… I think it still needs some work. It gets the point across but I think that if I could do it again I would make better use of the technology and be more thoughtful about exactly what information I included.

I tackled a few different issues with my flipped classroom video. A really big one was how to concisely and clearly communicate about a big topic in a little video. A big mistake I made was not precisely planning what I wanted to say and show in the video before beginning production. Once production started it took me such a long time to get to know Flash and get a couple words to move across the screen that in the interest of time there was no going back. Oh well. On the bright side, I did learn a lot about the program. I do think that I have a lot more to learn, and even that there are other programs better suited for the task. For example, I could look into using Animoto, a free online service (well, free to educators at least) that can be used to put together simple video presentations. I wrote about Animoto a few blog entries back. In the future I may use a simpler program such as this to put together my flipped video. But I felt for this project I wanted a challenge and at the very least I can say I have a remedial knowledge of flash. I think I underestimated how intricate that program can get and am a little embarrassed by how basic and rudimentary my video ended up.

But onto the positive! I did learn a lot about myself, and I assembled a blog in no time. I have never used a blog or wordpress before this class, so I feel kind of accomplished about the blog I made. I think I chose a really clear layout and navigated the site really easily in putting it together (which I had a hard time with when making my personal class blog). As I was writing up my fake entries I realized that I have a tendency to offer a LOT of information. You probably got a sense of that from my lengthy entries.. I can get carried away and ramble when I write. So I really edited down and tried to make my blog serve one purpose and one purpose only. It is a place to view video homework assignments. The way I interpret flipping the classroom is students get a peak of what’s to come the next class, build a little background knowledge and vocab, and can come to class with questions. I know some teachers show homework videos in lui of in class lectures or conversations, but I love having an exchange with my students so I would use flipping to help us do that rather than replace it.

The video I made is designed to be watched the night before a lesson I taught on Abstract Expressionist Sam Gilliam for arts 101 at Wittier Elementary (a STEM school). The lesson for a 6th grade art class that met once a week for 40 minutes. I felt that this was the perfect scenario to build my flipped video around because it is a STEM school so the students have access to computers and internet at school, and I also ran into some challenges that flipping may help address. In the actual lesson that I taught we began by going through a power point and discussing what abstract expressionism meant, and took a look at Sam Gilliam’s artwork. Because it was only a 40 minute period and I was only with the class for a few weeks I really wished I could have packed in more discussion AND art making. Typically we discussed for one class and made art the next time I saw them, but something was getting lost in the week that passed in between. My idea for the flipped videos is to build the basics for the conversation before coming to class (for example, establishing key vocabulary as I do in my Expressionism video), so that we can talk for 10 minutes and then dive in; a healthy mix of discussion and studio time. I spent a lot of time establishing vocabulary with the class before we could use it in discussion so I designed my flipped video to introduce the vocab words prior to class. My hope is that by giving all my students this base understanding of certain terms, like Expressionism, Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, students who are less familiar with the terms will be more likely to speak. I found that when I asked questions about words and meanings it was usually just one or two students who participated. I want to make everyone comfortable with the terms so we can dig in and explore the meanings as soon as class starts. Other benefits I’d hope to see from applying the flipped model would include having the video as a resource the students can reference again and again, and enforcing the terms and concepts by covering them both in and out of class. I also think that having a video with words and visuals, in addition to a class discussion can reach a wider range of learning styles. Equally beneficial to different learning styles is the difference in setting between covering the subject in and out of class; some students may absorb information better on their own time and visa versa. If students do not have access to computers or the web from home I feel confident that they could take 50 seconds to view the homework video from a school computer (another motivator for me making it brief). Though blog sites are blocked from the DCPS wireless network (thanks Mara for the heads up!), the videos are available on Youtube, so I would have students write down the web address or have it bookmarked on the art room computers.

Whether or not the video I made would accomplish some or any of the goals I laid out in the last paragraph I can’t say yet. I would probably re-do it and take more time in really deciding how to best approach explaining a word or concept in under a minute. I want my videos to be short, sweet introductions to a topic we’ll cover more in depth in class. What I don’t want to do is confuse or overwhelm my students with an unclear video. That’s my fear in flipping the classroom: offering unclear information that students cannot immediately ask questions about, overwhelming them, and then having them come to class more confused than prepared. To avoid that I want to make my videos very brief and to the point. I can say that after doing this project I really want to try flipping the classroom to see how it goes! I really believe in the benefits I mentioned in this post and I think that once I get my technical ability under control and make a product I feel really confident in I can take it for a test run. Using digital media to reach students while their outside the classroom is such a brilliant application. With more knowledge of the programs out there I could make videos that have music and voice overs, reaching my students through a visual and audio channel (more learning styles tapped into!). My biggest setback in making this project was my lack of experience with Flash, but it was also my biggest challenge so I don’t feel too bad about it. All it means is that I have room for improvement. As far as considering the application of digital media in the classroom setting, I feel that I have some really strong and exciting ideas for flipping my classroom and am really enthusiastic about testing and exploring this method.

Thanks for a great summer semester, I learned so much in these few weeks and am leaving feeling really ready to apply all the knowledge.

Photoshop and Illustrator – Please note that my reflection is interspersed among my images

I don’t remember where I found the image of the snake lady, but it inspired me so I brought her into photoshop and played with her, cutting her in half and making her a mirrored image of one half of her body. Then I added some interesting  backgrounds. I tried a whole bunch of different images. Wow, it’s kind of hard for me to write about my artistic process on photoshop, I worked really rapidly with so much room for harmless trial and error.


Basically, I ended up with a kind of playing card looking piece (below). I got really into the symmetric mirrored images.

And I just kept going, duplicating more, flipping more..

It was really challenging getting my background images symmetrical in photoshop, and finally when I moved to illustrator I realized how much unnecessary suffering I caused myself! Waaahh! Illustrator was doing all the things I needed photoshop to do when lining up my images in size and in relationship to the page.  I did the two patterned pieces below in illustrator. I took the photoshopped images shown above into illustrator and remixed them into a tile-like pattern. I had a lot of fun taking big images and reducing them, flipping them, mirroring them, and just doing that again and again until it’s a totally different work. I think working on the computer really lends itself to that kind of process because you can use the same image again and again. With a physical collage using the same image multiple times could be as labor intensive as actually creating it each time for each use.

If I were to re-do this project with the knowledge I gained about the two programs during the making of my artworks, I would deffinately work with illustrator and photoshop simultaneously. However, I’m glad that I went through the trials of trying to do in photoshop what illustrator is better suited for because the truth is I may not always have access to both, so I think it’s good to know how to do the same thing in two very different programs. This experience really exemplified the differences between programs for me, but also prepared me to complete the same task in either program if I have limited resources.

In the end I loved using photoshop and would probably create and edit my images there, and then bring them into illustrator to arrange them. I learned a lot from this assignment and feel really comfortable with using the basics of both programs. I have solved the mystery of the photoshop layers, which at first seemed like a totally annoying barrier between me and what I wanted my images to do. Now I really understand their function, and how to manipulate them. Overall I think I came a long way in terms of knowing how to navigate the interface of the program, and understanding the function of the program’s basic tools.

I don’t think these are super amazing original works of amaz-art, but I had fun experimenting and really like the relationship between the photoshopped ladies and the final pattern. I felt like a visual DJ, and that was awesome!


This pattern with the two sisters was something I started working on before the snake lady and then came back to when I became bored of the snake lady series. I love the negative space that their forms created. I did most of the work in photoshop, but after using illustrator I went back and duplicated the pattern more in illustrator, so I did use a healthy combination of both for these, which is how I think the programs are most constructively used.

It’s interesting how different these images are than anything I would ever “hand make.” I don’t know if that’s an appropriate term to refer to traditional methods like drawing and painting, but anyway. I would never have the patience or accuracy to put together patterns like these. I am mainly a drawer and painter, and I work really fast with big sloppy strokes, really impressionistic and impulsive. Never accurate, never precise. I almost exclusively work from organic subjects, like people and faces, mainly because the idea of taking the time to set up perspective and obsess over a line or angle makes me want to rip up my page before I even start. I am upset just thinking about it. But look at what I can do with photoshop! With illustrator, I can be effortlessly precise! It’s great, I am opened up to a whole new approach because of these tools, and my art is looking totally different than it ever has before. I am going to post below, after all this writing, the first two pieces I made in photoshop on the second day of class. I was trying to mimic my “traditional” style. I found this frustrating because it wasn’t possible for me to do with a mouse on photoshop what I do with paint in real life. After doing my topic presentation I realized that each medium, digital or traditional, needs to be embraced for its own strengths rather than compared to one another. With this new attitude I took a new approach which rendered all the images above.  I think it’s funny how different my first two below are from the patterned pieces I ended up focusing on.

Thanks for reading and giving me the tools I needed to get into this assignment!

Dig media: what adolescent students need to know

Thinking about how you want to be represented:

Where once society was warning kids and teens against communicating with strangers on the internet, we now have whole sites about ourselves where we post photos, belong to networks that reveal our highschool, workplace, etc, and even display our phone numbers, e mails, and addresses (some of us, at least). We talked at the beginning of this class about transparency. The internet is safer place in some regards because of transparency, but in other ways this causes potential problems down the line. I think most important to stress to students is that nothing you put online is private. Facebook is a public venue, your youtube videos can be googled, and whatever you say and do represents you not just right now, but for as long as the content is accessible. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re young, but now mistakes are being put down in writing, or recorded by photo or video and posted to a public site. My first lesson to students is that it’s really important to consider how you represent yourself. Don’t post a photograph of yourself doing something on the weekend that you wouldn’t be caught doing during the school day, because the fact is the same audience is viewing you in person and on facebook.

Expressing this value to students:

I have an idea for a unit plan about public and private spaces that isn’t fleshed out yet but I am gearing it toward an adolescent audience because it’s an age where people start to think about themselves as independent individuals. The idea of an interior and exterior self starts to surface as physical changes are brought on, and with that comes a heightened awareness or concern for others’ perception. What if this could be an empowering experience? I don’t have this unit totally worked out yet but I think using social media is a venue for talking about who we are, how we’re perceived, and how we control others perception is perfect to cover a topic that’s technologically relevant and really age appropriate for early teens.

Some ideas I have for projects:

I loved the idea in the 70 page article of making a myspace for historical figures and having them interact appropriately. I want to appropriate that idea and turn it into an art lesson… I will have more on this thought, plus others,  coming soon!

Digital Media in a Museum Setting

This article reports upcoming technological updates, and proposed tech projects being made and investigated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I chose to look into this museum because it’s a childhood favorite of mine, and also an old enormous dinosaur of a museum. The article outlines several proposed projects in 2011, and also their potential problems.

The Met plans to use technology to draw a younger crowd, and also a more diverse crowd. The plan to install wifi and allow visitors to choose from different tours on their devices. I love the concept of using technology to reach a wider audience, and catering to diverse needs.

How might this impact the traditional walking tour?

This seems in line with enhancing the experience rather than replacing it. In this model individuals have a chance to choose which tour best suits their prior knowledge or interest of the works. I don’t think this will ever replace the walking tour, but maybe I’m wrong. I love the charm of going on a museum tour with a diverse group of people, I feel that the more knowledgeable participants enrich the experience, and in turn get satisfaction out of being able to pass on their interest to other visitors. I also enjoy hearing feedback from my tour group members. I like hearing cross-generational feedback on art, and the feedback of someone with formal training vs. no prior knowledge. People are fun, and in my experience people on a walking tour are generally respectful because they choose to be there. I just really hope these lovely little experiences don’t die out as future generations become more and more comfortable fulfilling functions through smart devices. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that if someone is not comfortable or interested in a walking tour (many people may not be), they can still have an educative experience by using a smart phone or device, I just hope this doesn’t put the walking tour out of business! I’m one of those sentimental people who is always afraid that something new means the death of something old, and even if it does mean that, I’m the one who gets emotional about it. Maybe it’s because my parents collect antiques.

How the Met is doing in terms of Progress:

Anyway, the Met is nowhere near achieving this goal of museum-wide wifi enabled personalized tours. In fact, I’m not even sure the project has been approved. The museum is ancient, and many of the walls are really thick, maybe too thick for easy wifi access. From what I understand the museum is currently wifi accessible in some but not all locations. Furthermore, this endeavor will involve a LOT of information accumulation, given their approximate 1.5 million piece collection. Last year they did begin using smart phone tours in traveling exhibitions, a smaller task to tackle, but still a big leap in terms of keeping up with what other museums are doing (the first smartphone tour, or museum tour app, was debuted in London in 2009).

Right now at the Met this really neat game is avaialable to teens where they download the game to their smart devices and are challenged to solve a “murder”  by learning about different artworks. The title of the app/game is Murder at the Met: an American Art Mystery. Check it out:

And more info on murder at the met here:


Their website also features a Met Media section with podcasts, videos, even social media outlets:

Ok, I want to talk about one more museum before I go into my puny ideas about the uses of technology in msuems!

The Natural History Museum:

At the Natural History Museum in New York City there are some really cool uses of technology happening. I know I’m being really NYC exclusive in this post but that is the city I grew up in the suburbs of, and these are the museums I visited again and again as a kid, so seeing how they’ve evolved is fascinating to me. These are also institutions that deal with relics, ancient times and ancient artifacts, so the juxtaposition of applying modern technology to archaic objects is pretty cool.

So at the natural history museum there is actually an indoor GPS system! The museum’s iphone app, Explorer, launched in 2010, allows patrons to easily find exhibits, cafes, bathrooms, and gift shops. It also features additional info about exhibitions, and a scavenger hunt for kids. The museum provides up to 360 devices for patrons without an iphone or ipad.

More info in this article:

My ideas on tech in the museum:

Honestly, my idea was to have an interactive map, which pretty much sounds like what the museum of natural history has. The map would have little icons you could tap to see info about the exhibition, then double tap for directions. I am a purist and I don’t want to detract from the viewing experience, so I am not sure how I feel about videos and images on devices during a tour. I do think that podcasts are a great tool for preparing for a visit.

My other idea is a little fantastical, it’s for an app that will recognize speech and translate it into any language. This way visitors from any country can go on a walking tour, still get that face to face factor, but understand every word. It’s called Translator, and it has a lot of conceptual kinks, but I love the idea of technology being used to bring people face to face as opposed to reducing social interaction. What’s so great about art is that it crosses a lot of lingual boundaries and I think the app could assign everyone some kind of art making project at the end so that people of different nationalities could communicate visually, without language barriers.

Have a great day!


Copyrights for Artists and Educators

Copyright Laws Regarding use of Images, Video, Sound Clips in Media Creation for Ed Tools and Art Production:
From researching the Shepard Fairey case I know that the Fair Use Doctrine ( , or as cool kids like to call it, section 107, protects artists and educators under certain conditions.

I have cut and pasted from the factors that are considered when judging whether or not something is fair use:

1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

I would judge that educators using material for classroom lessons are in the clear from numbers 1 and 4. In addition, there are a number of circumstances that have been tested in a court of law and established as fair use as opposed to infringement. One of those scenarios has been “reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of work to illustrate a lesson.”
Now, as art educators, sometimes using just a “small part” of a work is not an option. I think this is referring to film clips and text passages. Showing just a small part of an artwork is not as effective. I think it’s safe to use a full image, but would not recommend using a full copyrighted image on a public, online resource. If it’s just kept in the classroom I don’t think anyone is going to mind. It’s just being careful when it comes to teaching with social media or on a public platform. I think it’s important to educate students about this as well.

Here is a link to a paper with some very basic guidelines for educators:

And here are some really great resources for an educator wishing to teach students about fair use, copyright law, and their rights as artists: <— awesome site.

Let’s shift gears from art educators to artists…

As an educator I feel pretty safe about fair use and not infringing on copyrighted material, but as an artist, no. I don’t. Unless I’m producing a work of satire (it’s very clear that copyrights do not apply when the image is being used by another party in mockery). Otherwise, as an artist, if I’m actually trying to show my work publicly, I am really afraid to use an image, even as a source image, if the product leaves it at all recognizable. Look at Shepard Fairey, he used an image as source material and transformed it, and he didn’t win his case. It’s really sad because I’m thinking of the pop artists of the 1960s and thinking that they would be criminals today (if the copyright holders chose to press charges). I agree with image ownership. As artists we need to have intellectual property rights to our original ideas and creations, but I think that artistically rendering a photograph in a transformative way should be a freedom and I’m really disappointed that the Fairey case couldn’t establish this as a standard.

The law recognizes the legal gray area that separates copyright infringement from fair use, and disputes are handled on a case by case basis.

Associated Press has a Posse; Fairey learns to Obey

How it all started:
During Obama’s 2008 champagne Shepard Farey google searched “Obama” and chose an Associated Press image to use as a reference for his now iconic Obama Hope poster. There are four original collaged works, one of which is hanging in the national portrait gallery. The image has been widely circulated as reproduction posters, T shirts, stickers, etc. Allegedly, Fairey used all of the posers’ profits to put back into the project, make charitable donations, or donate money to the Obama Champagne. In other words, he claims to have made absolutely no monetary profit from the project.
The Dispute, Fair Use:
In 2009, a year after Fairey’s Obama Poster first began circulating the Associated Press contacted Fairey, expressing their copyright ownership of the source image, and demanding compensation for its use.
Here is the original poster next to the AP (Associate Press) image used as a reference:

Obama photo and poster
Many, especially supporters of the arts, agree the Fairey altered the image enough to protect himself from copyright infringement under the fair use laws. Fairey himself is of this opinion, but none the less offered to pay the AP for the licensing of the image. When one party owns the rights to an image it is also their right to sell that image to another party, and Fairey offered to purchase the Obama image for market value. The AP rejected Fairey’s offer, expressing that they want to paid for damages.
In this clip Shepard Fairey explains his take on the situation:

Fairey takes a “stand”, preemptively sues:
Taking a stand for the arts, Fairey took the AP to court claiming that he is protected from copyright violation by fair use, and AP counter sued for damages. A judge dismissed the case encouraging both parties to settle outside of court. Also sued by the AP was Fairey’s affiliated apparel line, which profited significantly from distribution of the image in question by reproducing it on products like T shirts and posters. This too was settled.
The 2011 settlement that Fairey and AP eventually reached is a little odd. Neither party retracts their stand on the legality of Fairey’s original use of the image, but both parties agree to share the rights to the Hope poster and collaborate on future projects (posters and merchandise) that feature the image.
Legal Blunder:
During the case it surfaced that Fairey had knowingly supplied false evidence, and destroyed viable evidence during the investigation and case. Fairey allegedly claimed to have used one source photo (also owned by AP) when the AP correctly identified it as another. Fairey claims to have made an honest mistake but then tried to cover up his mistake rather than admit it. The significance between the photo Shepard claimed to have used and actually used is that
Thoughts on Fairey’s “Stand”:
Ok, before reading this it’s important that you watch the video I posted above because I’m going to reference it here. I researched this case in chronological order, so I did not know what the outcome of this case was until writing the end of this post. When I watched Fairey’s video I really got the feeling, pretentious and doofy as he sounded, that he wanted to take a stand for the arts and young artists. He just blew it so big time. He made it sound like it was about the art, and if was for the little guys, and in the end he lied to get himself off the hook, stupidly, and got caught. He was also really misleading in the video about his profits from the image. His apparel line made an enormous profit. I guess it’s no surprise after he submitted false evidence to a court of law that he’d make misleading statements to the public. He’s a sleaze.

Applying this case to the classroom:

I think this is a really cool case to explore with students as a way to introduce copyright laws to students as artists. It’s a great case because I think that almost every American has seen the image in dispute, and it’s also an opportunity to discuss honesty and public image. I really like this case as an example for students as what not to do. Since it was settled out of court it would be interesting to host a little debate about whether or not Fairey’s use of the image falls under the parameters of fair use. Students can develop a knowledge of the laws and also build an opinion about those laws with an exercise like this. I’m thinking 7th grade and up is probably when this becomes most relevant and also accessible to students. I also think street art is of high interest for students of this age, so it could grab their attention more than just a dry government document explaining the legislation.

Sources and more info:
more on the false evidence:
Fair Use explained:


Shepard Fairey being a HUGE douche:




Digital drawings started in the early 1960s, and was pioneered by mathematicians and code writers who were enamored by what a computer could accomplish.
Many of the early pioneers of digital art are featured on a website called, which stands for Digital Art Museum:

This site is a great resource for digital art history. It provides a history of digital art, features time lines, scholarly writings, and artist profiles and galleries of digital pioneers in addition to information about galleries and museums featuring digital art around the world.
One of my favorite “pioneering” artists I found on this site is Vera Molnar. She, and other pioneers, are featured in this gallery:

Among one of the earliest recognized digital artists was Jean Pierre Hebert, who founded The Algorists, a group of digital artists and mathematicians who used algorithms to code their digital artwork. Many of them are still practicing artists and computer scientists today. Their website is linked below:

An additional article on the Algorists:

(Hebert in front of his digital drawing Bright Wave. 2008)

2009 NY times article about more contemporary digital art:
This article is about cutting edge digital art that has surpassed just image editing and digital drawing (my topic), so I won’t go too in depth, but check out these artists, some of them are really cool.

Unit Idea Inspired by Pioneers of Digital Art: Using technology in unexpected ways. These artists used mathematics and computer science to produce works of art. Other artists have used less complex technology, for example, etch a sketch technology, to create complex works of art. Another artist uses a type writer to make patterns with overlapped letters in order to create realistic landscapes. What unexpected resources do we as artists have at our fingertips that has potential to express ourselves artistically? Assignment: Using unconventional medium or tool.


DIGITAL DRAWING: Contemporary Hardware and Software
So Unlike the forefathers of digital art, we no longer need to know how to write code in order to create images with a computer. Yay!
Digital drawing programs like Illustrator and Sketchbook Pro come programmed for you!

The predecessor of today’s illustrator programs, Photon Paint, came out in the late 80s:

More info on the progression of illustration software here:

Prominent Digital Drawing Software:
Buy it/Try it/Learn more @
Windows vs. Mac: Both!

Sketchbook Pro
Buy it/Try it/Learn more @
Windows vs. Mac: Both!

Krita (open source, comparable to Sketchbook Pro)
FREE Download/Learn more @
Windows vs. Mac: Windows edition is still a “Highly Experimental”
Example of Interface:
Smooth Draw (FREE!)
FREE Download/Learn more @
Windows vs. Mac: Both!

(It is capable of more sophisticated work, I just thought this was funny )

Corel Painter
Buy it/Try it/Learn more @
Windows vs. Mac: Both!


There is SO much software out there that simulates drawing and painting (or should I say, allows you to digitally draw and paint? The lines are getting so blurred… no pun intended😛 sorry!)
This website, Alternative To, allows you to search for programs in the same vain, for example, digital drawing. Here is a link to my search in looking for digital drawing programs comparable to sketchbook pro:
I’m no expert in this field, in fact I’ve never even used any of these programs, but in terms of comparing them and choosing the one that’s best for you here are some helpful resource that offer reviews and comparisons of products…


Graphic Tablets…

Artwork made using Koala Graphics Pad circa 1984
Link to more info:

And Now:

Question and Discussion Break!
What have you all used in terms of software?
Preferences? Thoughts?
In the Classroom:
How is technology changing the classroom?
Are the skill sets students need to have a well rounded art education evolving?
Is there a risk of certain practices becoming obsolete?
What are the pros and cons of digital media in the classroom?
How does working in front of a computer as opposed to around a table change classroom dynamics?
How does digital art in the classroom change the way work is shown?
LD kids in the classroom, engaging with texture?
How old is old enough to introduce photoshop?
Some pros and cons of photoshop in the elementary classroom:

What personal experience with digital drawing did you have in your own education, or do you employee as an educator?

Contemporary artists who work in both digital and traditional medium
Andrew Archer:

“I grew up with pens and paint but then the personal computer dominated the world and so I had to try it out, which is reflected in my work. I use a healthy mix of both traditional and digital techniques with no real preference of medium. I didn’t take art through my younger years, but I did eat crayons which quite possibly is where my off-beat colour palettes come from.” – Andrew Archer

I really like this bipartisan attitude towards digital and traditional art. In my classroom, I would hope to promote a similar attitude. I know in my personal experience growing up around artists and among artistic classmates I always felt that there were two camps: traditional and graphic. My friend Andrew Sawyer is a graphic design guy, and I’m a fine arts person, and I always felt we were on two opposing sides… mainly I was in the past and he was in the future. In high school I was never introduced to photoshop as a means of creating art, or any other program for that matter, but mainly as a means of editing images. Maybe this was just my experience, but I feel that I haven’t been exposed to a peaceful mix of technology for art’s sake and art for art’s sake. It’s always felt to me that digital art was commercial and traditional methods were fine arts. I love this blend of fine arts and digital art.

Digital Artist Ross McEwen’s work:
How Ross sells his work:
I think it is really interesting how inexpensive this piece is, and how non-physically labor intensive creating the product is. In traditional printmaking the artist does a lot of physical labor to produce the work. Times sure are a changin’!
Issue of Medium: Is it mixed media if you use two totally different techniques and tools on photoshop? Does language need to evolve faster or are these labels just insignificant today? Can they apply to the digital age?
Or is a new medium being created all together?



A quick explanation of Bitman vs. Vector

Bitman Images are scanned images of digital photos. Vector graphics are anything drawn on the computer. They are different file types, but either type of file can be manipulated to resemble the other.

This site explains Bitman vs. Vector in more depth:

As long as photography has existed, people have been manipulating it, and ethical issues have been raised.

This blog outlines a time line of image manipulation staring with early photography:

Photographic Forensics:
Additional resource:
This website is really cool, it’s run by a forensic photography firm that deals with all things image manipulation. Check out their Blog (linked in the site) for current events and more!

Technology Used to Manipulate Images Today


Time Line of Photoshops progress:

Gimp (open source)


Young guy with awesome Gimp Tutorials on Youtube:


The shiny new program on the block:

Comparing Programs:


Consider: how many images do we see today that are un-edited? Programs like Instagram instantly alter images.

In the classroom: Students must think critically now more than ever about their visual culture. Important to students going into the business to have a strong ethical understanding of what their role as a creator or mediator of images entails. Even if one is not pursuing a career in art or graphics, putting any image out there, or taking any image in is an active participation in visual culture. Educators can think about ways to cultivate skills in students that allow them to interact thoughtfully and responsibly.

These sites lay out some of the ethical implications of modified imagery:

Ethical issues in world news:

Israel’s new “photoshop laws” require marketers to include a disclaimer when a model is modified to appear skinnier via photo editing. The law is an effort to reduce high rates of eating disorders and eating disorder related deaths in the country.

Let’s hope she’s photoshopped😦

More info on the new laws here:

Similar efforts are being made in other countries to regulate commercial use of Photoshop. In France consumers felt betrayed when they learned a model’s skin had been digitally altered in a wrinkle cream advertisement. In America, Arizona state legislation is proposing similar reforms, and this young girl is advocating for a photo-shop free section of seventeen magazine:

It’s funny that such a superficial industry, like fashion, should be the first to come under attack for commercial use (misuse, or over use) of image editing. It makes sense that teenage girls are advocating for authentic images because adolescence is a time for physical changes and subsequent physical insecurities… This would be a great topic for an adolescent art class. A possible unit could be on manipulating visual culture to shape a world they’d like to see. For example, if they could make the beauty or social norms or ideals anything they imagined (maybe they turn current trends upside down, like making pimples beautiful and setting creams to generate them!), how would they use imagery and image editing to establish those norms/ideals? A class magazine could be put together, or each student could be responsible for their own.

Beyond image manipulation’s societal implications, it is a great tool for editing one’s own art, and exploring other subjects like image appropriation. Students can use it prepare portfolios, and interpret preexisting images, symbols, and works of art. Ultimately, however, I think the affect image manipulation has had on our visual culture is the most profound topic for classroom discussion. Editing an image can mean editing someone’s perception, and thus editing an aspect of society. Exploring this topic can lead to valuable ethical discussion and hopefully a deeper understanding of one’s role in our visual community.