Category Archives: iPhoneography

Pixite’s New Apps : MATTER and UNION

I wrote about 2 of Pixite’s other Apps, FRAGMENT and TANGENT, previously here. Fragment has now been released on the Android market, hurray, but the others are still only available on iOS. Hopefully they’ll follow Fragment onto the Android platform soon.

Rather than creating hyperlinks to Pixite’s Apps, here is the link to Pixite LLC‘s website itself, where you can see ALL of their Apps.

Pixite’s 2 newest additions to their stable of Apps are MATTER and UNION. Both Apps contain all manner of blending, juxtaposing and layering of objects, shapes, colours, textures.

Each of Pixite’s 4 Apps I’ve mentioned above have a facility for transferring your edited images from one App to another easily. Therefore you’ll be able to process your image in one App, move it over to another whilst in-App, process that, then transfer it back to the first App or even to a third App. Very nifty!

The User Interface of all 4 Apps is pretty uniform and intuitive. I was so excited about trying out MATTER and UNION that I didn’t bother to read the instructions or watch any video tutorials. I jumped right in and had a good play. So I won’t tell you what each button does on the Apps, or how to tweak the effects. The fun lies in making it your own hands-on experience. Go play!

Here are some of my experiments. Some were done purely using MATTER, others purely with UNION, but most of them were the product of both Apps. I’ll be experimenting more with these 2 Apps as well as the older 2, so watch this space! ;)











Posted from WordPress for Android.


Fragment and Tangent by the same App developer Pixite, are 2 iOS-only (Apple) Apps that I have on my iPad2. My Samsung Galaxy S4 is my workhorse for artistic creativity. But good what I call “Geometrical Art” Apps are hard to find on the Google Play Store. Fragment and Tangent are 2 of the best in their class. And so sometimes, when I Just have to have some aspect of geometry in my artwork, I turn to my iPad2.

When I do, it’s usually for hour-long sessions, as I must make the most of my time on my iPad2. So I generally use these “random generator” Apps to generate dozens of random images, which I afterwards transfer to my S4 for future use. Did I say already that I love Randomness? :D

Anyhow, this session was particularly fruitful. I’d already got a folder of previously randomly generated images using 2 more of my favourite iOS Apps, AddLib S and AddLib U. So this time, all I had to do was run some of them through Fragment and Tangent.

Et voila! Instant gratification! These are just a few of the images I generated. They will be used in conjunction with other Apps on my S4, to create new pieces of artwork.






















As of 23rd August 2014, the App “Fragment” is now available on Android. Yay, Happy Days! Also, Pixite have a couple more new Apps that I’m interested in, namely “Union” and “Matter”. I am just playing with these 2 on my iPad2 now, I’ll write about them next.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

Fallen Angels

In the past, I’ve used Tarot Cards, specifically the traditional and time-tested Rider-Waite cards. However, these did not resonate very much with me, for some reason. I found that Oracle cards held more meaning for me. I’ve already written about Oracle cards in a previous post, please click on the link here to read about that.

My first Oracle card deck that I bought in Australia was the Fallen Angel deck, from a bookshop in Mandurah. I was struck by the artwork. As a visual artist, imagery is very important to me.  And so when I entered the bookshop looking for a likely Oracle card deck to purchase, the Fallen Angel deck literally called out for my attention.


You can buy this deck on Amazon, eBay, at any decent New Age store wherever you are.

What attracted me to this deck was the grungy, textured feel to the collaged images. When I saw this deck, I was reminded of an early iPhoneography project of mine, that I’d done when we lived in Ascot, near the Perth Airport in Western Australia.

Here are some images from the Fallen Angel Oracle cards deck, courtesy of Google Images, in case you’re curious and what to see what they are like.

scan0010 fallen angels 2 scan00081

So today, I’ve gone into my vast archive of images stored in my 1TB hard-drive, to actively seek out my own Angels images. Arrghhh! I can only find 3…they may still be on an old computer, which I hope has not been reset to factory settings!

Instead, as a compromise, please take a look at this YouTube video that I choreographed for a musician friend, Brian Vassallo, for his track “I Am Always In Your Heart“, as it contains several of my Angels. This was back in September 2011, nearly 3 years ago.  It’s a great song, and I like to think I’ve done the music justice with my mobile photography art and choreography. At that time I was on my iPhone 4, so this would technically be termed iPhoneography.

Meanwhile, I will continue to search for my Angels on all my computers, as there are unedited photos there that I would like to process for a future project. The cemetery I took the photos in is located in Guildford, which is difficult for me to get to these days, since we moved to Rockingham nearly 40 miles away. The next closest old cemetery to me now is in Fremantle, which I will endeavour to get to on a good day, if I fail to find my old Angels.

Post addendum: Looks like a trip to Fremantle Cemetery is on the cards.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

Not Just Butterflies : CLEAR CUT CRAFTS

I have used butterfly clip art in my photographic art for a while now. They started out as being secondary to the flowers I used as my main subjects. But just recently butterflies have become even more important in my work. First, I found a beautiful piece of wooden hanging wall art featuring butterflies. Next, a visit to the Natural History Museum in Perth gave me dozens of photos of butterflies. Everywhere I turned, butterflies seemed to beckon to me.

And then I started searching the likes of Etsy and eBay for butterfly-themed collectables and paraphernalia. I hit the Jackpot when I stumbled upon Clear Cut Crafts, an Australian business specialising in acrylic butterflies.

Excerpt taken from their homepage:

Clear Cut Crafts have been operating since late 2007 and the business is now offering the largest range of 3D Butterflies in the world.
Still owned and run from just outside of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia.

The business has grown in leaps and bounds but still maintains a high quality handmade product. Over 8000 Butterflies were used in the launch of the apple Iphone in Optus stores Australia wide. Toshiba recently purchased 3000 butterflies for the marketing of a recent release of one of their new laptops. Also last year over 1400 large Monarchs were sent to Canberra for the Floriade flower show.

Another huge success for our business is the wedding market, although not originally designed for weddings they have proven to make stunning displays in floral arrangements, bouquets, cake toppers, table decor and head wear.

Many more hands are busy cutting our little critters and we have ventured into wedding accessories, crystal butterfly craft and much more.

That convinced me to try them. So I sent off for some butterflies. I ordered 12 for $13. If they were any good, I could always get some more. Clear Cut Crafts claims to have the world’s most extensive collection of realistic 3D butterflies. They also do other insects, such as dragonflies and ladybirds. As their strapline goes, they do “More than just butterflies”.

They didn’t disappoint. My 12 butterflies arrived in the post a few days later, and they are truly beautiful.

This is my modus operandi:
1) take photos of the butterflies
2) use AThumbCut to digitally cut out the butterflies
3) apply as clip art to previously processed backgrounds

Here I have decided to pose my butterflies in natural surroundings, so you can appreciate just how realistic they are. The pack came with glue dots, and you can fold the butterfly wings upright if you like, but I prefer my butterflies stretched out flat.

Remember, if it’s high quality realistic butterflies you need, head over to Clear Cut Crafts.













Posted from WordPress for Android.

Offset in Pattern Design

Someone asked me just the other day what Apps there are that will do Offsetting of images.

What exactly is Offset? Offset is usually used for the purpose of creating pattern repeats. I am no expert, so I turned to good old Google for help. Here are some decriptions of how doing an X-and Y-axis Offset helps create a seamless repeat pattern:

“I generally offset by exactly half the width and half the height, so that what were originally the four corners of my image now meet in the center”.

“The Offset filter moves, or offsets, the contents of a layer by a specified number of pixels either horizontally, vertically, or both. When creating simple repeating patterns like the one we’re designing here, you’ll want to enter half the width of your document into the Horizontal input box and half the height of your document into the Vertical input box”.
(Source :

OK…so not the clearest of explanations. There aren’t many good descriptions of what Offset means, actually. Most of the Google entries I found related to car wheels or traditional printing methods. Others were for those familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator, and assumed some prior knowledge of technical jargon.

So, perhaps I shall try to explain in layman terms what Offset means in terms of designing seamless pattern repeats. I promise you won’t need any prior knowledge of Photoshop or Illustrator. If, like me, you happen to be a mobile artist using Apps, then the last part of this post will show you some Apps that offer Offset filters. Hurrah!

OK, here goes. We’ll do this the good old bricks and mortar way first, using real objects, not virtual or digital. Say you have a squared image printed on a piece of paper, that you wish to make into a seamless pattern repeat. What you need to do is to Quarter the image, so fold the paper in half, and half again. Open up the paper, and cut along the creases. You now have 4 quarters of your original image. Mentally label the top two quarters 1 and 2, and the bottom quarters 3 and 4.

Now for the “Magic Corners” part. What you need to do is swap the quarters like so: 1 swaps with 4, 2 swaps with 3. What happens is that the 4 corners of your image are now in the middle, and the middle of your image has been magically transported to the outer corners.

There, you’ve done a 50/50 offset. This means you’ve moved your image exactly halfway horizontally and halfway vertically. When you tile this new configuration, as in repeat it several times over, you’ll find that your original image miraculously reassembles itself in the corners that meet.

Now, how does this transpose into the digital realm? Easy, there’s an App for that ;-). Actually, there are a few Apps that will do the “Magic Corners” split for you:

Litho (on both iOS and Android)
Photoshop Effects (Android)
Photo Effects (Android)

I’ll use this image as an example, and show you how each of the Apps creates the Offset.


(Litho uses sliders to adjust the X and Y axis offsets. It is not 100% accurate, as it does not show the percentages of the offsetting).


The above shows the X-axis offset approximately halfway across.
This photo shows the result after doing a Y-axis offset, again around halfway across.

The final result.

(Don’t be misled by the name, this App has nothing to do with Adobe Photoshop. The Offset filter is found under “Amazing effects”, then “Split”).



The result. Image resolution in this App is rather small.

(The Offset filter is called “Split”, under the category “Crazy Effects”).



And there you have it…how to Offset images on your mobile device, without using Photoshop or Illustrator.

And here’s what it looks like after creating a 9-frame square collage using PicsArt:


Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! :-)

Posted from WordPress for Android.

You Need to read this! Creatives At Work

I stumbled across this blog while surfing the Net for “careers for mobile photography artists”. It’s called Creatives At Work Blog.

How the hell has this wonderful blog been able to escape my radar until now? It’s a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of resources and articles for artists, designers, photographers, writers etc. If you fancy contributing to the blog as a guest writer or have any ideas to contribute to the blog, do contact Eileen Fritsch directly, at

Eileen has thoughtfully organised her blog into categories: Artists, Designers, Photographers, Writers. She has been writing for many years now, so each category spills over with articles and resources of relevance. Sub-headings helpfully steer the reader towards more specific information. If you are any or all of the above, you NEED to read this blog. (Be aware of the dates of each post, as some of them go back a few years and the information may be outdated, especially in relation to exhibitions and competitions).

For my fellow Photographers wanting to up the ante on our game, check out this page, which contains links to numerous other useful articles (or access it via the blog under the Menu button, then click on Photographers):

I’ve only had time to skim read a few of the articles within Eileen’s blog, but already my head is buzzing with ideas and inspiration. Suddenly, there seem to be so many more opportunities for mobile photography artists and designers like myself. It’s all there, if we only knew where to look. I just hope I haven’t arrived too late to the party!

I think I will certainly tap into this motherlode of information, and expand on them in future posts. There really is A LOT of information within Eileen’s fantastic blog. I couldn’t even begin to tell you about what’s there, trust me when I say you just Have to look for yourself!

Just to whet your appetite, here’s a list of the Sub-headers under the Photography category. Each of which contains lots of links to other sites.

Career and Business
Photography Marketing
Niche Services
Changing Technology
Cross Training and Skills Development
Photo Merchandise
Trends and Forecast
Photo Printing and Display Options
Photo Exhibitions

Run, don’t walk!


Posted from WordPress for Android.

Tutorial: Turquoise Sea/Sky with Butterflies

In this tutorial, I shall demonstrate how I created this image:


I call this one “Turquoise Sea/Sky with Butterflies”. I really love the translucent colours here, and the depth of the image.

Apps used:

Impressionist Fingerpaint
Photo Editor


The background image is from the App Pizap. Note: the resolution of images using this App is small. What I do is I resize the image after blending with another image, using Photo Editor.

              PiZap background image.

This next image, above, is a colourfield background I created using Impressionist Fingerpaint. I free resized the PiZap background and then blended the 2 images above using PicsArt, to get this image:


Next, I needed another image to provide interest and contrast.


I used an image I’d created in Frax, an iOS App. I used my iPad 2 for this, and transferred the image to my Samsung Galaxy S4 for blending in PicsArt.


The above is the result of the second blend using PicsArt. I carefully centred the inner spiral around the butterfly motif in the middle of the PiZap image, to emphasise the subject.

I added some butterfly clipart to the image, again using PicsArt.

I felt that the colours of the resulting image were too muted and there was not enough contrast, so that had to be rectified.

To do this, I ran the image through Photo Editor. I’m really pleased with how the colours really sing and pop in this image!


Posted from WordPress for Android.

Switching from iOS to Android – surviving the first year

In a nutshell, here’s the chronology of events as they happened to me:

June 2010 – bought first iPhone 3 on eBay. It came to me in Ireland via the United Kingdom. I was mostly using this to access the Internet, and of course to play games from the Apps store.

December 2010 – landed in Australia, got married. Started taking photos with my iPhone 3. Discovered Lomographic Apps, ventured further afield and discovered a whole new world of mobile photography Apps. Started Apping like mad, and searching for fellow likeminded crazies. Started styling myself an iPhoneographer.

June 2011 – joined MobiTog to get connected with other iPhoneographers around the world. Was invited to become an Admin Moderator. I resigned from this position in June 2012 to concentrate on my own creative endeavours, but still keep in touch with MobiToggers on Facebook.

July 2011 – initiated and organised Perth Apple Store’s and Western Australia’s first iPhoneography exhibition/demonstration. Discovered that Western Australia has a looong way to go before they catch up with the rest of the world! My style had evolved by then, and I was calling myself an iPhone Artist rather than an iPhoneographer.

September 2012 – bought an iPad 2 on eBay, as I wanted to create bigger prints. Now of course I realise I didn’t really need an iPad to do all that, but it seemed a good idea at the time, and besides, the bigger screen meant less of an eyestrain to me! Briefly toyed with DSLR photography, by way of an Olympus E-PM1.

December 2012 – bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone. Wasn’t impressed by the iPhone 5, as was hoping for a bigger screen and a higher MP camera, but Apple disappointed on both. A Longer screen won’t help photographers, a Bigger one will!

May 2013 – traded in my beloved Samsung Galaxy S3 for the new Galaxy S4.  Did a lot of research first before becoming an early adopter. No regrets, and I absolutely adore my S4! I can’t wait for the S5 to come out this year! Being an early adopter has its advantages – you only need to spend a couple hundred dollars on getting the newest model device, as you would be trading in your old one while it’s still in great demand. Last year, I sold my S3 on eBay for $350, and used the money to offset buying the S4. I only paid another $200 to get the S4.

Friends keep asking me why I made the switch from iOS to Android. I must make it clear that I still very much like and respect iOS, and that I still use iOS on occasion on my trusty iPad 2, however the iPhone 5S just doesn’t cut the mustard for me, in terms of being my go-to device for everyday use. I love the Apps that iOS has and Android hasn’t, which is why it’s brilliant that I still have my iPad 2 so when I need to call upon an iOS only App, I simply transfer my image over from my S4 to my iPad2 for processing. Yes, luckily there’s a universal App for doing that, that you can get on both iOS and Android, and it’s called Photo Transfer.  I also love Android photo editing apps that aren’t on iOS, so I’m a happy bunny to be able to call on both platforms.

So, why did I switch?

1) for a bigger screen to work with.  The S4’s screen is nearly double that of the current iPhone. My eyes were starting to feel the strain from hours of peering closely at pixels. My fingers were finding it hard to use the iPhone’s minuscule keypad.

2) for a better built-in camera. The S4’s camera is 13MP, the current iPhone’s is 8MP, and has been 8MP for the last 3 generations of iPhones. Bigger MPs means I don’t have to work as hard to get bigger prints. The S4’s camera is like a real camera, with multiple functions, flash, zoom, scenes, panorama, even the ability to erase photo bombers. (There’s also the Nokia Lumia with a 41MP camera, however it’s on Windows which hasn’t the photo editing Apps that I need, so I don’t see the point in that…yet!)

3) for a better user interface. I just love the S4’s “soft” buttons, for Home and Back, and I couldn’t do without it now. When I use my son’s iPhone 4 (my old phone), I find it frustrating not to have those “soft” buttons, and also that floating thing that’s to help with stuck Home buttons, that’s just plain annoying! Why not just make your Home button less fallible, Apple? Customers are paying top dollar for your device, why not reciprocate and give them top dollar hardware in return?

4) Android may still be playing catch-up in the Apps department, but a great number of developers have also launched their Apps on Android. I have on my S4 the likes of Snapseed, PicsArt, Pixlr Express, Phonto, Footer, Magic Hour, Photoshop Touch, etc just to name a few off the top of my head. This makes it easier for me to process my images on the go, instead of having to transfer images between my S4 and iPad2.

5) I love the fact that I can use the same charger for my S4 as I do for my Kindle Fire, my Plox external battery, my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition). AND, the same charger lasts a hell of a lot longer than my iPhone’s chargers ever did! So okay, the iPhone now uses a lightning cable, which is still a proprietary cable and costs a bomb to buy. Whereas I can easily get a charger for my S4 for about $5 from my local supermarket. Most mobile phones these days have agreed to use the same universal charger, but Apple still refuses to play ball.

6) for a better battery life and expandable storage space. My S4 will last me a whole day of use, but I know if the battery’s nearly dead, I can simply open the back, remove it and replace it with a charged battery, that I can easily obtain online. My S4 has only 16GB of built-in memory, but I have an SD card with a whopping 64GB of memory storage on it. And if that ever gets full, I can simply swap that SD card for an empty one. Many smartphones, not just the S4, have this facility. The iPhone’s battery is non-replaceable, and it does not offer an SD card slot.

And what did I find difficult when I first switched phones?

1) the Android platform is a treacherous minefield, full of booby traps in the form of Apps that are really spambots. If an App asks for too many permissions before you click on the Download button, chances are it’s one that’s loaded with pop-ups and ads, and may even change your phone’s settings without you being aware of it.

2) don’t download any Apps that change your settings, unless you really want to change your settings!  I accidentally downloaded a “GO” App and my icons changed to farm animals suddenly, and my fonts became really large. Some people actually like being able to fully customise their mobile phone screens and settings, but I don’t.

3) you must remember to stop Picasa from syncing with your Android device, otherwise it will duplicate every image you have on your phone! A friend of mine had a similar problem recently, on his Facebook account, where he’d inadvertently synced all his iPhone’s photos to his Facebook page, much to his embarrassment!

4) to protect yourself from malware, much like you’d protect a Windows computer, simply download any of a number of Free anti-spyware/anti-malware apps from the Google Play Store. I use Avast! and it does the job. No more pop-ups for me!

Apart from these small niggling glitches, which are controllable, I love having the best of both iOS and Android worlds. Some detractors think I’m mad and that I’ve “deserted” my iPhone. Some even call me a traitor for “leaving” the Kingdom of Apple. I’ve even been told to “go and play with the Android people and leave us iPhoneographers alone”! Tsk tsk…some people like eating sour grapes.

Let’s not forget that I cut my teeth on an iPhone, and I still use iOS Apps, it’s just that my chosen platform for taking photos and processing them is currently Android.

HANDPAINTED WALLPAPERS = my newest fascination

It seems I may have been asleep for a long time.  Perhaps for much of my life, actually.  It has taken me several decades to find myself, and yet when I think I’ve got myself sussed, I find myself standing on the threshold of yet another startling discovery, on the verge of yet another Grand Adventure.  What I’ve discovered about myself in the past is my Modus Operandi: that is, if I find anything interesting and worth investigating, I will proceed to get totally immersed in it, and then from within that subject I will follow this lead and that, getting tangled and disentangled, going down dead-ends and cul-de-sacs, or simply round and round, until eventually it leads me to another subject to pursue.

Now I find myself beckoning to a clarion call by the fascinating subject of HANDPAINTED WALLPAPER.  For my own record, I will trace how I got here, to this point.

I was fascinated by the idea of creating patterns firstly when coming across Kaleidoscope and Fractal art on the internet.  I dabbled with various Kaleidoscope apps on my iPad and Samsung Galaxy S4. While that was a lot of fun, it did not teach me how to make seamless repeats. Try as I might, with cropping and resizing, I could not replicate a repeat without showing the joins.  I even subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud in an effort to try to learn how to make repeats…but even though I know a few tricks on Photoshop now, I still haven’t got the hang of using the software. It’s a mental block for me, is Photoshop hahaha.

So that was why I turned to the wonderful world of smartphone Apps to see if I could create and recreate seamless patterns.  More for my own retrospective reference than anything else (in case I forget how I did it in the first place!), I posted up 30 mini tutorials showing my workflow of how I did it on my Samsung Galaxy S4 (very) smartphone. Yes, I now know how to create seamless repeats, I know how to create those 4 Magic Corners, I know about half-drops, brick and tile repeats, how to fill in gaps, etc.

And what lessons did I learn from that steep learning curve? My explorations took me into the realm of clipart and techniques for blending and juxtaposing different elements or images.  I searched the App world for clipart that I could use in my designs, concentrating specifically on my favourites – birds, butterflies, flowers, trees. My 3 go-to Apps for blending are:

Photoshop Touch,


and Litho.

All have their idiosyncrasies and quirks.

When the iOS App Frax appeared in the last quarter of 2013, I was delighted as it gave me an extra dimension to create patterns from.  By now I was a firm fan of pattern designs, and was constantly seeking out new ideas for creating repeats.  Frax opened up a whole new world for me.  One day, as I was toying with blending different images together, I decided to play around with Percolator, an iOS App, on my iPad 2.  After Percolating a few dozen images, I transferred them to my S4 to play with.  By happy chance, I decided to try to blend Percolator with Frax, and create a pattern out of them.  The results were surprisingly good, so I took that idea and ran with it.

Frax Percolator pattern

While experimenting with Percolator in one of my favourite Apps, Photo Editor, I decided to play around with replacing some colours.  I discovered the Tolerance or Threshold slider, and yet another world bloomed before my very eyes.  Not only could I change selected colours in my image, I could also control, to some extent, how much or how little of the new colour I wanted in my image.  By shifting the Tolerance slider bit by bit, I could reveal or cover elements of the overall design.  This was really exciting for me, as now I could really control the placement of my clipart or cut-n-paste images onto my prepared background image.  In fact, I was so encouraged by this that I researched clipart online and found Dover Pictura, which is a division of Dover Publications, but specialises in royalty-free clipart.  The images are available as a physical book, CD or e-book.  Being the impatient sort, I plumped for electronic means, and very soon I had folders filled with images of birds and other strange organic forms.

Check out Dover Pictura for yourself:

After all these discoveries, I decided to have a play with printing my images as panoramic images, and in different sizes, just for fun.

Peonies scarf trial blue 30x60cm  Four Water Lilies for Snapfish

Around this time I was starting to look at the possibility of printing my “long” designs onto textiles or fabric, as scarves or throws.  Despite hunting high and low for printers, (I even engaged in a month-long conversation with several traders on Ali Baba to discuss this), it all came to nothing.  I was not prepared to invest in thousands of dollars buying  my own flat-bed printer, or a specialised printer that would do banner printing.  Nor was I looking to print my own designs in bulk and try to market and sell them myself.

So I had to contend myself with knowing that I COULD venture down the pathway of a textile designer if I wanted to and if I had the money to invest, but meanwhile, back in the land of the living, I would have to be satisfied with having my artwork on canvasses and posters.

Now for the next big leap…but first, I had to discover several inspirational women artists who crossed the gap between Art and Industry.  I have written about these women in my previous posts: Angie Lewin, Orla Kiely, Florence Broadhurst, Kathe Fraga, Sonia Delaunay, Kate Spade.  I’m sure there will be more to come.  It was through these women that I realised that my own art and designs did not have to just become prints or posters, they could perhaps be large panels to decorate a room.  I knew for my designs to be wallpaper, I would have to create repeats…but I could create triptychs and have 3 canvasses hang side by side to create a large picture, or perhaps I could create 2 panels horizontally that could be used to decorate the wall of a stairwell?

I was reading an article in Vogue Living Australia, and was captivated by the Chinoiserie wallpaper in the photoshoot.  The wallpaper was by de Gournay, and get this – it was HANDPAINTED.  This, of course, was the technique used in the old days, before screen printing and digital printing.  And, as I researched further, I was struck  by how many artisans were out there creating beautiful, handpainted and handmade wallpapers for the discerning homeowner.  Now you can have ART on your walls permanently, not just hanging frames and canvasses.  In fact, your wall BECOMES Art.

And so, in a roundabout fashion, this is how I came to discover my newest fascination – Handpainted Wallpapers.  I shall write more about various artisans that I will no doubt discover on my travels on the internet, so do bookmark me and check in often!

A Question of Definitions

Okay, so yesterday I was calling myself a Mobile Photography Artist & Designer.  That’s supposed to be a catch-all description of my creative endeavours.  I can’t call myself an iPhoneographer, as I use a Samsung Galaxy S4 now and not an iPhone.  I can’t call myself an Androidographer either, as I use both iOS and Android devices and Apps to create my images.  I can’t call myself just a mobile photographer, as my work contains elements of Art and Design therein. Some of my pieces fall under “Art”, while my designs for CD Album covers and mock-ups fall under “Design”.

Last night, as I was pondering this dilemma, I came across this interesting point of view by one Taylor J. Taylor makes a strong argument that if there are elements of photography in a processed image then yes, it can be called photo manipulation.  But if it includes elements of photography and digital art (vector art, clipart, fractals, computer illustrations etc) then it needs to be re-categorised as Mixed Media. I find myself agreeing with Taylor on this point…but as an artist I would add that artists whose work exist as digital files should really call themselves Digital Mixed Media Artists.  Mixed Media in the traditional sense involves physical works i.e on tangible products on physical substrates such as canvas, paper, card, metal etc.  A Digital Mixed Media Artist works on a computer or smartphone or tablet, phablet or any number of devices that use digital technology.

So, perhaps I should be calling myself a Digital Mixed Media Artist then?  That would make Photography purists like Taylor happy, as it means I’ll be off their turf and out of the competition. However, that might make the traditional Mixed Media folk upset, though, as I could then be encroaching on Their territory. And then, what about my work that exists on Print On Demand sites like Society 6, Red Bubble, Zazzle, Fine Art America, Artist Rising, Saatchi Online, etc…when they get printed out onto canvas or paper or metal and delivered to the customer as a tangible object, does that not make me a Mixed Media Artist instead of a Digital Mixed Media Artist?  Also, would it then be even considered Mixed Media, as the medium then is only canvas/paper/metal/etc, and not a combination of different materials, as defined here by DeviantArt:

DeviantArt by the way has an entire forum devoted to this genre, which features debates and feedback from members as to how they should categorise their work on the site.  In a nutshell, this is DeviantArt’s definition of Digital Mixed Media:

What is Digital Mixed Media?

Digital Mixed Media is a visual work of art created using two or more types of digital mediums.

So what exactly does this mean?  Lets break it down.  First lets define “digital.”  When the word digital is used to refer to visual artworks it is referring to the method of creation.  Computers are used to create digital works, and submitting a work of art to one of the Digital Galleries implies that it was created via the use of a program on computer.

There are several basic digital art forms, and they are defined briefly here:

  • Painting/Drawing/Airbrushing: This involves using a mouse or graphics tablet along with a graphics program to create paintings or sketches directly in said program without the use of photographs unless for reference.  Programs used include: Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, the Gimp and others.

  • Photo-manipulation: The use of photographs (in most cases more than one) which are then altered via a graphics program is considered to be Photo-manipulation. Be advised that using filters or plug-ins is not a Photo-manipulation and all deviations altered in that fashion should not be put here or in Photo-manipulation, but in Digital Art > Miscellaneous. Also, using post-processing techniques like photographers would be able to apply in a darkroom is not a Photo-manipulation either but still considered Photography. These techniques include, but are not limited to, changing hue, saturation, color, contrast, levels, desaturating, inverting, etc.  Photo-manipulations can be performed in programs such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, the Gimp and others.

  • 3-Dimensional: Scenes or objects created through the means of rendering software that lets you set up the object and its environment (including position of objects and camera, light, atmosphere etc) as a first step. When you are ready, you have the option of rendering the scene in higher resolution for displaying your work. Programs used include: Poser, Maya, Cinema 4D, 3dsMax, Blender, Daz Studio, Terragen and others.

  • Fractals: Fractal images are created using mathematical formulas. Their characteristic features is that it consists of a geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole (it is self-similar no mater how far you zoom in). Programs used to create fractals include: UltraFractal, Apophysis and others.

  • Vectors/Vexels: The difference between a vector and a vexel lies in their nature: while a vector uses vectors to store the image information, a vexel stores the information in raster format. For the purpose of the Mixed Media gallery, the difference is negligible though. The reason for this is that as soon as you add another art form to vectors, you need to raster the image thus converting it to a vexel basically. Both art forms have in common, that their looks are similar: imagine a picture composed from basic shapes filled with solid color, a gradient or a pattern, that when stacked upon each other form your picture (posterized look).

:star:If you combine two (2) or more of the above digital art forms your work is now classified as Digital Mixed Media and should be submitted to the proper Digital Mixed Media Gallery.:star:

OK.  How about “Digital Art”?  Would that not be a better all-encompassing definition of what I do?  The Free Dictionary defines it as:

Digital art, contemporary art in which computer technology is used in a wide variety of ways to make distinctive works. Digital art was pioneered in the 1970s but only came into its own as a viable art form with the widespread availability of computers, appropriate software, video equipment, sound mixers, and digital cameras toward the end of the 20th cent. and the subsequent development of increasingly sophisticated digital tools. A boundary-shattering style, digital art can combine and transform such elements as painting, filmmaking, photography, digital design, video, installation art, sculpture, animation, and sound.

Presented on video screens, digital works may be created of abstract or figurative forms in the artists’ choice of millions of shades of color, and may be manipulated so that the images appear, combine, morph, and/or disappear. Digital art also includes works, many of them interactive, made to be viewed on the World Wide Web
. Sculpture, too, can be a digital art as a result of rapid prototyping, a technique that “prints out” three-dimensional forms from computer-designed models.

I suspect that might be quite a good fit. Technically speaking, yes, smartphones use similar technology to computers, to the extent that my mobile phone may be considered a mini computer.  However, to label myself a Digital Artist fails to take into account that I create my art using solely Mobile devices.  The only time I use a computer is in rendering images to suit given templates on various sites; any other time and I’m on my smartphone or tablet, which are “mobile” or portable devices. So, maybe “Mobile Digital Artist”? But, although that does take care of the “mobile” part, it doesn’t address the fact that my work often includes elements of Design, including the use of Fractals, Vector Art, Graphic Art, Clipart.  “Mobile Digital Mixed Media Artist” is too much of a mouthful…

I think I’ll stick to “Mobile Photography Art & Design” for now.  At least there, no one will think I’m treading on their toes, stealing their limelight, muddying their waters, dragging down their standards, changing the course of their history.  Because there, the terrain is as yet uncharted and while one may meet fellow mobile photographers, they all have their own definitions of their work, and they all have different views and opinions as to what they are.  It’s like the Tower of Babel, many voices, no leader of the pack.  On sites where I post up my work, I simply have to find the best fit, and sometimes it will fall under Mixed Media, sometimes under Photo Manipulation, sometimes simply Digital Art, even Collage or Design or dare I say it…Photography.  My point is, these days it is nigh on impossible to peg someone neatly into a pigeonhole and make them stay there.  I’m not even sure if I am a pigeon  ;-)