Artist’s Statement, or Why Do I Do This Anyway? by Sue Oakes


I am a freelance digital artist/instructor with a diverse background in psychology, business, art and technology. 


I am primarily a visual person, and am always stewing a cauldron of images and ideas which have yet to take form. Sometimes these images, like demons, will bubble around in the stew for a while, only to tantalizingly submerge themselves and resurface again when something jogs the memory. Sometimes these ideas take on flesh and a consciousness of their own and resurface one day, demanding release from me.


What I do is not really traditional photography, but “Photo Imaging” in which I use enhanced techniques such as layering, masking, and digital “hand painting”. Although it originates with computer hardware and software (primarily Photoshop), my work is not the result of anything routine, and is developed from my original photography and illustration. There is no “formula” or automatic process; no two pieces are done in exactly the same way. 

 

Through my work and teaching, I demonstrate that art and technology are not antagonistic, but can coexist and should be used to enhance each other in new and exciting ways. In my digital work I blur the borders between photography, painting, and digital illustration to achieve my artistic vision.


In my recent digital collage pieces, I create composites of several photos, and sometimes vector illustrations as well. They are not only layered, but have various other effects such as painting, blending and masking to achieve a certain look. I often begin with the human form and then relate it to elements in the natural world, such as water, plant life, or landscapes. The viewer’s eye is drawn around the piece to discover both the individual elements and how they coalesce to form the whole.


This work can be seen on www.suoakesphotoimaging.com


Although my formal training is in graphic design, I find myself being drawn back to more non-digital media, most recently watercolor, pastels and inks. There is a tactile immediacy in them not present in digital art. 

This work can be seen on www.suoakesart.com


I sometimes meet people who are “traditional media artists” for lack of a better word, or art curators who dismiss digital art as somehow illegitimate. They might have the notion that I push a few buttons, and my image is done. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In many ways, creating art on the computer is more open ended; it is not possible to wear a hole in the paper by changing one’s mind ad nauseam when creating art on the computer, so it can go on indefinitely! 


Hardware and software are  only  tools, much like pencils, paints or clay. The underlying artistic principles remain constant.

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