computer cartoon 88.
(photo credit: )
As part of my court-ordered administrative rehabilitation (don't ask, it's a long story), I recently took a course in modern art. People actually pay money for this stuff? They certainly do - lots. Far be it from me to criticize someone like Jackson Pollock, but if this (http://tinyurl.com/2sd3t5) is the best he could come up with - well, there is a sucker born every minute, isn't there?
I'm actually allowed to poke a little fun at old JP, as we used to call him in the gang. Yes, that's right - we were best buds back in the '60s (in spirit, of course, since he died in 1956). I haven't heard from him recently, but I think he would be as shocked as me that his painting No. 5 sold for $140 million a couple of months ago.
So it's decided: I'm getting into the art game. Fortunately, as has been demonstrated by so many modern artists, talent does not necessarily mean the ability to reproduce an object from the real world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern-art) - it's more about getting the attention of viewers and being able to "explain" what the painting means to the satisfaction of potential buyers. Note to art aficionados: I'm just kidding. In all seriousness, art is cool, and I've always wanted to be someone who can create it. And thanks to my computer, I can.
What is art, anyway? More than just a graphical display on a piece of canvas, it's often a commentary on current events, people and ideas. That's the idea behind Montage-a-Google (http://grant.robinson.name/projects/montage-a-google/), an innovative program that can create works of art using on-line graphics, based on a theme - and let you print them out for posterity.
The biggest museum of imagery in the modern world isn't in a building, but on-line - at the Google image gallery (http//images.google.com). If you're looking for a picture or image of just about anything under the sun, Google images is your first and best resource. Many of the images in the gallery can be reproduced (i.e. they are not copyrighted), and many are of sufficient resolution that they can even be successfully printed in a newsletter, newspaper, etc.
Using the Montage-a-Google generator, you can search through the Google image database in a matter of seconds for images that correspond to a specific theme. Once the montage - made of small snippets of the big images they are derived from - is arranged, you can print out your creation or save it to disk, for further "refinement" in Photoshop etc.
The results of a Montage-a-Google image search, once assembled, can be thought provoking. A search for the images related to the term "Israel," for example, yielded pictures of holy sites, shekel and lira bills, maps - and posters by groups calling for boycotts of Israel. Is this art? If it's politically thought provoking - which it is - a case could be made for terming the results of Montage-a-Google "art." To get a better sense, check out some of the other works produced by users of the program at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/montageagoogle/.
Montage-a-Google's randomness is offset by the fact that your production is arranged in the form of a grid - so it's imaginative and creative, but with a sense of order. Some artists would probably balk at that sense of rigidity, though - and for them, there's Webgobbler (http://sebsauvage.net/webgobbler/), a program that will assemble a computer generated piece of art that really does look like it belongs in a gallery.
Webgobbler utilizes images from a variety of sources, including Google and Yahoo images, as well as from "real" art sites like Deviantart.com, a well known on-line modern art repository. Webgobbler was specifically designed not to create ordered montages, but rather to form something new and different.
To accusations that he is a thief for utilizing others' images, the author states that while the original images, which anyone can display in their Web browser, belong to their owner/creator, art is by its nature derivative, and many great works have been influenced - and used elements from - previously created works. Sort of like "sampling" in modern music.
Once you've created your masterpiece, you'll no doubt want to sell it to your nearest art gallery. But you might be better off holding out until you build yourself a reputation first. Instead, may I suggest uploading it to a site where it will get seen by millions. You could place it on the aforementioned Flicker (http://flicker.com/), but here's a better idea: Post it on the Morguefile site (http://www.morguefile.com/), where it is much more likely to be seen by professionals in the graphics business than at a casual site like Flicker. The Morguefile, despite its chilly sounding name, is a very popular site for graphics professionals, and it provides free, high-resolution downloads of stock photography and art on almost any subject you can think of. Posting your creation at Morguefile gets it downloaded by someone at a big newspaper or magazine - the kind that pays big money for fancy artwork to line its halls.