Friday, May 28, 2010

The Digital Book

Cover of Key Note

I have yet to try digital book displays like the Kindle. I know that the digital book would save space. However, for my purposes I have found books made of paper efficient enough. Plus I like to make notes by hand in the margins of my books. This favoritism for the tangible has not stopped me from exploring digital possibilities.

Recently, I have been working on digitizing two of my artist book projects. One of these projects, entitled Key Note, I uploaded to my website yesterday. The analog version of this book was bound in the codex form. This book in part illustrates a scroll that continues from page to page till the end of the book.

Detail of Key Note

Recreating this exact scroll in a codex relationship online is impossible because a web page does not have a literal front and back. For the online version of the book, I created a window that limits what is seen to the scale of a single page and I added a scroll bar that allows the viewer to advance through the narrative. By limiting what can be seen, the online version becomes similar to the analog book and becomes manageable, given the size constraints of a webpage.

For my purposes, creating a webpage is about conventions of usability. In the case of Key Note, not being able to see the whole picture or story at once is beneficial because it creates a sense development and allows the audience to be surprised along the way.

For the complete online version of Key Note click here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Steve Emmett

I am a little behind the times regarding news. Recently, I heard that the painter Steve Emmett had died suddenly in 2008 and in 2009 there was a memorial exhibit at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania's Bruce Gallery. From the memorial retrospective the University has produced an extensive catalogue. Emmett was a professor of painting and drawing at Edinboro University from 1988 till 2008. I got to know Steve during the fall 2004 semester while I also taught at Edinboro.

We would chat from time to time outside of the art building. Also on occasion I could hear him lecture to his class in the room next to mine. We shared some of the same students and I realized that Steve was a well-informed and serious artist. From his website and other information I found online I learned that he spent much of his life in the Northwestern part of Pennsylvania above Pittsburgh. His paintings often appear deeply personal and indicated a complex inner life that seemed to contrast with his calm outward personality.

Gallery director and Professor John Bavaro states at the end of an
interview with that he would love to see Emmett get national exposure. Emmett's work serves as a reminder that there are artists quietly making important art outside of large urban areas. There were 60 paintings in the retrospective exhibit and many can be seen at his website. I have included several of my favorite paintings by Emmett below. Hopefully, I am giving Steve a little more of the exposure he deserved.

Steve Emmett, 100 Pound Wait, 1993

Steve Emmett, A Place to Stay, 1991

Steve Emmett, Shell of a Man, 1995

Steve Emmett, Hare, 2007