Questions both digital and existential

I have been waiting patiently for my ink to dry, and was finally able to lay the gold leaf without it adhering randomly to the ink. It still sticks sometimes, so I used a stencil (or frisket to my printing friends) with the gold areas cut out to protect the rest of the linocut. I like the result —  warm reflected light that is different from the white of the paper or the transparent blues.

©Elizabeth_Busey_Aqueous_TapestryThe problem comes when I try to capture the image digitally. It is very hard to capture the gold leaf unless it is so strongly lit that it blows out the entire image and the gold area appears white. Suggestions on the internet range from using lighting from extreme angles to reproducing the feel of the gold reflections in Photoshop. The latter is a laborious process and one that feels false.

Much of the art world relies on digital imagery. Whether you want to send work examples to a gallery, enter a festival or apply for a juried show, you will need good images. There is no other way for people to see your work.

I have definitely chosen images based on how they will look on a monitor. Some of my larger work, like Ambrosia, completely change color when compressed.

© Elizabeth Busey. Ambrosia. Reduction linocut. 28 x 28in, Edition of 13, $725 unframed.

Ambrosia You can begin to see this when I shrink (an already drastically reduced) Ambrosia down to a smaller size. The rich tangerines now look kind of mustardy. I had this problem when I tried to print a postcard of this image.

What happens when we stop making art for art’s sake and start worrying about how it appears digitally? If something is too large, to intricate or in this case too difficult to photograph, should we stop making it?

Ultimately art is to be experienced in three dimensions — even two dimensional art. Perhaps we need to move toward video submissions, where the experience of viewing work can be more rich and representative. Or does that just create more problems? What is an artist to do?

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