Sea Dream – Seahorse by Liz Harper
I spent this weekend in the company of the Windycon Science Fiction convention and confess to having had a good time. In addition to participating in two panels and making a presentation, I also entered six giclee prints in the art show. Of these only half are included in my online gallery:
With respect to programming, in my The 2008 Windycon Science Fiction Convention post I wrote about the panels and presentations I was giving. Personally, the most satisfying was the panel on which Artist Guest of Honor David Mattingly and I engaged in a wide ranging discussion of digital art. Unfortunately our third panelist – science fiction author Roland Green – had to miss the convention due to illness. David offered many insights on his transition from a traditional to a digital artist. I particularly liked that he simultaneously identified the digital "undo button" as being both the artist's greatest friend and worst enemy.
I also attended a number of panels. Given that the theme of the year's convention was military science fiction, the bulk of the programming addressed that topic. However, there was ample non-military SF programming. One of the most fascinating was that given by friend and physicist Bill Higgins. His talk How Antimatter Becomes a Plaything of Science discussed the history of antimatter, aka contraterrene, in both science and science fiction. A one page essay written by Bill on the subject appears in the September 2008 issue of Symmetry Magazine – a joint publication of Fermilab and SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center).
Back to the art show, Friday night there was a wine and cheese reception so that convention goers could meet and talk to the artists. While talking to a couple people, I put down my plate of brie and bread and glass of wine in front of my display. Perhaps because I was under the influence of the wine, I grabbed a bid sheet, wrote in the title of Unfinished – Still Life and my name as the artist, arranged/positioned the food and drink and attached the bid sheet to the plate – making it appear that my food and drink were actually a part of the show. What was great is that this did create a fair amount of buzz and folks were coming over to take pictures of it (something I unfortunately did not do.)
Unfortunately none of my six prints sold. I attribute this in part to the fact that my large framed pieces were at the high end of the bid scale vs the many, smaller unframed prints and originals available from other artists. Perversely, the one item I entered into the auction that did sell was, yes you guessed it, Unfinished – Still Life.
The highlight of the art show was the exhibit by David Mattingly of his work with lenticular 3D. Each print is actually the result of creating multiple viewpoints of the same scene, cutting each into small strips, assembling and finally overlaying with a carefully aligned lenticular screen. For more see David Mattingly's page on depth-view prints
Browsing through the art show there were two other artists whose work caught my eye. One was Todd Johnson, a member of the General Technics group. Todd's display consisted of a number of Shockfossils – a term of Todd's creation. These Shockfossils are a form of Lichtenberg figures – created by zapping blocks of acrylic with millions of electron volts and then creating a fracture point through which the trapped electrons escape. See below the video that Todd created illustrating the process of freeing the electrons.
The other artist whose work caught my eye was Liz "Galindorf" Harper. Liz uses polymer clay to hand-sculpt figures and then uses metallic pigments powders applied by hand to color the piece. The colored sculptures are then placed in a shadow box on top of a black velvet backing. The effect is quite striking. I have used a photograph of Liz's Sea Dream – Seahorse to illustrate this post.
You can see more of Liz's work at her Astral Dreamers web site.
Now sit back and enjoy Todd's video about the creation of Lichtenberg figures.
Video: Todd Johnson creating Lichtenberg figure at lunchtime at Fermilab