In the 21st century, art takes on a digital form; from the photographs you view to the music you hear, it is all an interpretation of 0s and 1s.
Yes, there are plenty of examples that take on a physical form – painting, sculpting, dance, live music – circumventing computers, maintaining the visceral origins of the artist. Initially, anyway. The means by which people choose to experience culture is compact disc, Blu-ray and Internet. Smart money is on the fact many of you who read these words shop for paintings and sculptures on the Internet, watch dance on cable television and stream music through social media. Even e-books challenge your need to visit the local library.
Technology has played an even hand in both spreading and destroying the beauty of experiencing the arts.
Music aficionados have long recognized the difference in the quality of digital versus analog music. To the point that, today, the vinyl records our parents enjoyed in the ‘70s are making a comeback. Even contemporary artists are releasing their work on records because a growing number of fans find digital lacking the nuances once captured on records, 8-track tapes and cassettes.
Nuances, in particular, are important to visual artists who wish to reproduce and sell their work to consumers. One Saratoga Springs business owner is taking advantage of every aspect of today’s technology to help visual artists reproduce their work in ways suitable for museums.
“I never planned on owning my own business, said Permian Productions owner Jeff Ayers. “I’m a go-getter. I was like that as a musician. I’m like that in every aspect of my life. So, when I decided I was going to run a business. I never went to school for business… But, the age we live in is wonderful. If you have the drive and the focus, you can teach yourself just about anything, thanks to the Internet and the wealth of knowledge that is out there… I sat down and taught myself how to web build.”
Permian Productions is an upstart printing service that double-teams as a marketing company for artists. The website launched on January 20. Within 30 days, Permian represents four fantasy artists with subjects ranging from the ethereal, the macabre, to the abstract.
“I find more and more that there are so many artists out there who are so talented, but don’t have a grasp on how to market themselves, or to get prints of their work out there and be seen.” Ayers, a fan of graphic novels and gaming, said he “gravitates towards” fantasy art, so he initially finds himself representing those kinds of artists. “And, I think there’s a good market for it.”
The representing aspect of the business first entails showing off the work on the company’s website. The homepage predominately displays a piece of work from each artist, as it cycles through a slideshow. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram notify followers of the latest contest, a chance to win a free piece from local tattoo artist Mark Mrowka, just for joining the site’s mailing list. And, Ayers investigates prospective art conventions for them to attend.
In recent weeks, a vice president of Google Inc. made headlines when he voiced his concerns on the dependency society has with storing information digitally. Vint Cerf told attendees of the American Association for the Advancement of Science important documents are vulnerable to “bit rot” as hardware evolves beyond the ability to read the data. Her later told The Guardian, those with pictures need to print them. Professional photographers in particular take precautions when printing their work.
“Before someone frames a picture they open a box and put their hands on it,” said Rafael Concepcion, Director of Content & Education at KelbyOne – publisher of Photoshop User magazine. “How they respond to that event validates their purchase. So, paper choice is essential.”
Ayers said, Permian Productions employs the use of an Epson 9890 industrial printer with ultra-chromium ink technology (K3). The printer has the capacity to print 44-inch wide pieces, and is able to accommodate fine detail, and with the proper quality paper, ensure the colors remain vivid for decades. “I’m really happy to be able to provide the industry standard of ink and papers. … The ink technology that I’m using is museum quality, it allows artists and photographers to make work that they will know, is industry-rated in lightfastness, for over 100 years that the colors will not fade. I’m very proud to be able to give artists the ability to showcase their work in the nicest way possible.
“I really hope to be able to help artists do what they want to do, which is to create art.”
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.