I do a lot of 2D and 3D (and even some 4D anims) pieces using dozens of different programs and several different computing platforms...but lately I am in a motivational plateau where I don't want to work in that mode...not because of anything bad but because my cell phone is blowing my mind. The camera part, I mean.
By making 'photography' so easy to do and so omnipresent, I think smartphones have revolutionized art. Like any good American robot-accessory I am busy taking shots of everything all the time, but the intense part is when I really, really look at what was captured. I put it through various filters, to clarify basic abstract themes I see emerging in each shot. And then, I am simply amazed -- Reality is just so much cooler than I am. I mean, I knew that already, but I am stunned by the degree to which it is true in this new medium.
Of course, there is some skill in the selection of the shot, the cropping and the filtering. People often look down their noses at software filters and post-production, but it is a bottomless topic with plenty of room for skill development. I generally work with about 5 filter layers, each one independently masked. It takes several hours to treat a photo this way, but it is well worth it.
Nonetheless, this method raises deeper philosophical issues. There is a beautiful Chinese Taoist poem from many centuries ago that captures my feeling. I cannot remember the exact text (I will try and find this later) but the basic outline is that the Poet sits in front of string instrument and finds himself unable to strike any notes. He asks "Why play when the wind will come along soon and caress these strings?"
Exactly! I KNOW all the standard responses, about being a part of that natural process that is happening anyway, and finding one's place within the much larger space and knowing both its limits and its possibilities. But right now, I just feel stasis, and not a small amount of awe. I suppose there is no real harm in being gob-smacked by the galaxy...and I assume I will get excited again about all my artistic projects...but for a while here I guess I will sit quietly...
And maybe grab my phone!