Over the course of eight shifts at the airport using the Fresh Paint application at the Windows 8 booth, I created about 80 illustrations. Some took me just a few minutes, some took a few hours. I was very curious to see how I approached the project compared to the other artists on the project. The other artists all came from the same agency and have backgrounds creating corporate murals, street graffiti and classical portraiture. Those dudes (they’re all dudes) can spend all day on a single composition. Some of their work is very impressive as a result. I guess I have a much shorter attention span.
The truth is, I get competitive. As the program’s token agency-free girl-artist, I wanted to produce beautiful work that was very different than the others, and prove I could master the Fresh Paint program and bend it to my will. Above all, I wanted to make the most of all the drawing time, and produce something I could be proud of. Since I had free reign to draw whatever I wished, reviewing the work now is a journey through various tangents, subjects and techniques that reflect my interests and my exploration through the program’s possibilities. This selection represents the best 10%, by my estimation.
These first two are the result of looking for a glitch in the program to exploit, an intention I stated after the first week. I found a janky digital brush tool, which was so busted it couldn’t draw a smooth line, and I loaded it with 3 colours of paint. Then I would twist the brush as a I drew it across the screen which would make it skip and create involuntary jags. This way I could create a random, rhythmic pattern that would be wholly unique to the Fresh Paint program and the touchscreen technology. Artificial life!
This silhouette came from a request by one of the kids in the booth, who said she liked Victorian fashions. I’ve been using silhouettes quite a bit over the course of this project. Silhouettes bypass the necessity of assigning an ethnicity to every figure, as well as allowing me to avoid creating facial features in low resolution.
This one turned out so well, and of course I have a deep obsession with historical fashion silhouettes. This successful drawing inspired a whole series from which the next four come in order of creation.
I leaped back and forth between elegant historical female silhouettes and punk rock. At the time it was just a stream of consciousness to keep me interested in the process, but of course on reflection the juxtaposition is kind of fun.
The sketch below is inspired by Johnny Rotten, especially his unhinged, glaring eyeballs. I was a bit unhinged myself on this day, feeling rotten and high on cold medication, getting tired of trying to keep myself together. These little punk rock interludes are probably the most expressive Fresh Paintings of all, letting slip a sense of the creative exhaustion that is inevitable after 50+ hours of coming up with ideas and rendering them.
By the end of the series, I was finally getting a handle on how to make the Fresh Paint program actually appear painterly. I was working quickly and deliberately with a greater level of confidence, and I could almost make it seem as if I had used actual paint.
The last few images were, appropriately, very simple. As with any medium, achieving a successful loose composition with just a few elements is far more challenging than doing a very tight rendering. By this time, I could just let Fresh Paint be Fresh Paint.
Thanks so much to Microsoft, everyone at Black Chalk Marketing, Caroline Shaheed and all of the wonderful young event workers I shared this experience with.