Artists craft new arsenals for the iWorld

Artists craft new arsenals for the iWorld

San Francisco : CA : USA | Feb 03, 2012 at 11:06 AM PST
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Bert Monroy calls Photoshop his paint and brush, Adobe Illustrator his pencil-on-canvas and the iPad his sketchbook. Leave it to artists to find interesting uses for new technology. And I'm not just talking about weird performance pieces involving wrapping consumer electronics in felt and lard. I'm talking about the everyday uses that emerge in the everyday lives of the avant-garde.

The iPad is a kind of expensive sketchbook

If the Sketch Station was any indication, more and more visual artists are developing their tablet art skills, and they're getting pretty good at it. And the apps they're drawing and painting with are getting pretty good, too.

One good thing about this is that it makes sketching much more practical for digital artists. Instead of having to scan hand-drawn sketches or work on a desktop tablet, artists can now sketch directly digitally, anywhere they please.

Digital sketching can even be handy for non-digital artists. It circumvents a lot of the problems with physical paper. You can hang on to digital files more easily, organize them better, and copy and modify them instantly and perfectly. And if you get them up in the cloud they're always accessible.

All the musical instruments fit in your pocket

What happens when a band gets robbed of all its instruments? It starts playing songs on iPhones (and performing sets on buses). At least that's what Atomic Tom did. And they aren't alone. The jamband, moe., took up the trick on iPads.

And it really is true -- a touch screen can simulate just about any instrument you can imagine. Someone's even made a harmonica app. And third party developers are still churning out new instruments: odds are good your instrument has either already been coded or will be soon.

These groups both performed at Macworld and spoke a little bit about their reasons for playing digital instruments, and their experiences. moe. admitted that, for them, it was primarily "a gimmick."

That doesn't mean these instrument apps aren't great in a pinch. And all of the musicians say they're more than ready for a digital instrument that goes beyond its analog parallel.

Your ouvre is in the cloud

"Publishing select coffee table books is oh-so-yesterday," Stanley Smith, Head of Collection Information and Access at the J. Paul Getty Museum, said at a talk on the future of museums and art appreciation. An audience member who specialized in data management for catalogues and resumes pointed out that a lot of artists were creating digital portfolios, and the iPad seemed like the perfect platform.

Now, things don't get much better than a glossy iPad architecture mag. And now that we've got the cloud, you don't need to pick and choose just what you carry around. You can show a high-powered new acquaintance any piece on your desktop hard-drive on your lightweight, stylish tablet. Oh you're interested in commissioning an oil-painting of kittens playing with butterflies? Well I specialize in web development, but i have a few high-res photos I could show you of pieces I did while I was working the cat art circuit. Check out the brushwork around the whiskers.

For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld | iWorld 2012, check out

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Even after moe. had relinquished their iPads for regular instruments, Macworld's cameraman kept his.
Roseann Cima is based in Fairfield, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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  • Even after moe. had relinquished their iPads for regular instruments, Macworld's cameraman kept his.


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