Thursday, May 19, 2005

Schools, technology and art 

Today we looked at another possible Secondary School for J. - a smaller one, and not far out of our area. It was nice enough, if a bit rundown, but we actually got to go into some classes - the attitude and interactions of students and teachers, and the work they were doing, had a good atmosphere. The Vice Principal who showed us around was enthusiatic, if slightly nervous (he said "to be honest" a lot, but he was just that). There was a much greater emphasis on information technology - something which the alternative schools still largely reject - and on sport, with less on music and creative arts, which is probably to be expected in a smaller school, less able to support a range of subject options. This balance doesn't strike me as idea for J. though.

The technology question is something I've been pondering with regard to my own art. I love drawing and painting on paper or board, with real inks and paints, but there's no denying the effectiveness of a lot of techniques on the computer. I'm not inclined to reject the technical approach outright, and have started adding some touches of greys and colour on the computer where it seems necessary. Somehow, a lot of Photoshop and Illustrator work just looks generic to me, but I think it's always going to be horses for courses and a matter of using what's needed and appropriate. One of the strongest arguments I've seen in support of totally computer-generated comics art is Alpha Shade, all drawn in Flash, but more on that another day.

I work with computers every day and have seen how they've revolutionised information access and provision, though I still think traditional information and research methods have some merit (particularly when used in combination). As with most conflicting approaches, the right answer is probably somewhere in the middle-ground. I certainly think that's so for art.

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