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Artist of the Week: Chuck Elliott

June 12, 2011

Aquiline/cerulean angel
Diasec mounted Lambda print
Signed edition of 8 120 x 160cm
Signed edition of 12 66 x 90cm

This week’s artist is Chuck Elliott, a UK digital artist with experience in commercial design who transitioned into a career in fine art.  After Art Chicago 2011 last May, a blogger (whom I shall not name) writing for ARTslant Chicago snottily predicted that Chuck Elliott’s work was -to paraphrase- destined to hang in the meeting rooms and office spaces of corporate collections in the near future.  I found this very snotty because the offending the bloggerist [blogger + terrorist] did not say anything else about the artist’s work and, frankly, totally slammed the other artists presented by this gallery.     

In speaking with his gallerists in person, I learned that Chuck Elliott creates his work using Maya, the computer modeling program.  Prior to this, I was only familiar with Maya being used for 3-D design animation / virtual reality programming; think computer animation and video games rather than still images.  This is interesting to me because I imagine an ongoing process of manipulating moving imagery to arrive at the final art piece.  (Sorry Alpha Geeks; my grasp of Maya is pretty weak.)  More pertinent, is the use of new technologies to create what I interpret as printmaking art.  The works I saw were large scale, with rich color saturation and very high quality prints.  The editions are small and the lines between the colors are sharp, like clear photographs of geometry and flowing lines.  Without a frame and pressed against clear glass, the works give an impression of being glass art until you discover they are digital artworks.  He make variations of different works and different visual themes appear when you have seen the body of his work.    

Flow/indigo black
Diasec mounted Lambda print
signed edition 12 
88 X 124 cms

I have an ongoing fascination with the nature of criticism and its relationship to art.  If these were multi-plate lithographs in small editions, the older analog process would give Chuck Elliott’s art safer passage into the holy halls of “fine” art.  Being digitally created leaves the works open to attack and deprecation.  I guess that blogger might have benefited from my article on prior Artist of the Week Benjamin Edwards, since Edwards is doing digital designs that are made into multi-plate lithographs.  Edwards work was on display at the Chicago Print & Drawing Fair on March 18, 2011.  Who drew a line in a sand indicating what era or type of ink is acceptable and not acceptable?  Maybe some people have a hate-on for computers getting used as tools for artistic creation and get furious, crying “He can’t do that!  He used a computer; that’s cheating!” 

In a world where a bunch of artists, whose work hangs in not only galleries but museums, and was traced by various methods -and I can name names- or made via The Factory model by teams of artisan workers, it seems much too late to diss, ignore and dismiss digital creativity.  The hard drive and design software are now sitting next to the paint brush and palette knife in the artist’s tool box.  To see more art by Chuck Elliott, click here for the available pages of images through his gallery, current as of this writing, but may change due to digital fluxus and/or the arrival of holographic HUD display technology.      

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