We have, without really having had much choice, all completely changed our daily routines. We’re spending more time than ever on our computers and phones. Looking at all kinds of stuff we don’t normally see. Many of us long to return to some kind of normal. But then I don’t think we ever will return to the same ‘normal’ as we had before.
Maybe that’s a good thing?
One thing that has had a big effect on me is not being able to go to art galleries. I really miss it. In fact, my own exhibition closed after only 10 days due to the lockdown. I wish there was a way to show it online, but like many we hadn’t thought about this in advance.
Galleries are now having to think about new ways to show art. Creating virtual galleries and experiences. Thank god for digital. I’m sure we will look back at this in a few years time, and acknowledge that COVID-19 did more to drive digital forward than anything else.
When we look at Traditional art, online, it loses the magic of standing in front of the actual piece itself. But with Digital art we are at least a lot closer to the source and the overall experience.
Technology has always been a big part of my practice. About 7 years ago I developed a piece of software that enabled me to draw with just my eyes. It works in conjunction with an eye tracker and two infrared lights that shine into my eyes and an in-built camera picks up the reflections. An algorithm then turns this into a line that tracks my gaze.
Watching this one continuous line move around the computer screen as the image builds up is tremendously exciting. There is no going back or correcting mistakes, every pixel is permanent, though part of a process. Anyone watching could the view the progress on another screen and some even bought their own individual file to print out at a later stage.
In fact, it is now possible to stay in the safety of your own home and have me draw your portrait.
During this lockdown I’m exploring new ways to use tech, to add to the online experience. One idea is to track a viewer’s eyes as they track my eye drawings, creating a kind of double, symbiotic portrait. Another is to build a laser beam which is also attached to my eye, thus creating a music track as I draw. Stay tuned.
About The Artist
Multimedia artist Graham Fink is recognised as one of the world’s most respected, and highly awarded, creative minds.
Fink is a multimedia practitioner working in the fields of photography, film, painting, drawing and technology.
His career over the years has been defined by never being entirely satisfied with the status quo, whether in the world of advertising, or in the world of art.
Fink has long explored ideas of the subconscious and creativity through works spanning video, installation, photography, and painting, he tries to understand the principles behind artistic practices and new creative expressions.
In 2001 he set up his own production company, thefinktank – a conceptual production company. Graham is a great believer in nurturing young talent and launched theartschool in 2005 (described as Britain’s most radical art school), holding sessions in venues as diverse as the House of Commons.