Home > Artist of the Week, Uncategorized > Artist of the Week: Eric Daigh

Artist of the Week: Eric Daigh

I first saw the work of Eric Daigh at Art Chicago / Next 2011, and I shot the above video showing two works on display with variable viewing distances.  What you are looking at is called “optical blending”  -your eyes will merge colors together to create new ones.

There are so many different ways this artist could work with optical blending, based on the three different “color wheels” for light, print media and traditional art.  The color wheel for light is how your computer monitor works, displaying lighted, colored pixels in red, green, blue, white [all three colors at once] and black [i.e. no lighted colors].  In print media, old color computer printers used the white of the paper and tiny dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, or all three to make black.  Today’s printers are smoother and blend colors together better, black is its own separate cartridge in a printer now; but you used to be able to see the separate dots on the printed page with a magnifying glass or microscope.  This was also true for newspapers.  Artists are usually familiar with the traditional Western “primary color” wheel [red, yellow, blue].  Daigh has used this to great advantage, including white and black for depth.  Late Impressionist painter Georges Seurat is widely known as an early pioneer in painting using a scientific approach to color, and Seurat was well aware of the effects of optical blending.

Eric Daigh has taken the concepts of color wheels, scientific use of color and optical blending and moved forward with them creating “portraits reconstructed with unorthodox materials” such as the plastic pushpins in board.  The photos below are from his website which also indicates that each large scale art work uses anywhere between 25,000 and 100,000 pushpins.

The work to complete each painting is labor intensive:

Like Close, Daigh considers himself a “process painter” whose works combine creativity with hours of diligent application.
“It’s the humanity that we’re trying to show,” says Daigh. “It’s really tricky sometimes, trying to get the exact curve of a cheek or wrinkle under an eye.”
Daigh begins his projects by taking a series of photos of the subject. After carefully analyzing the photos, he uses a computer and specialized software to break an image down to a very low resolution and force the computer to make the image out of only five colors, the primary colors of red, blue and yellow, plus black and white.
“With the push pins, I don’t have every color in the rainbow to use. It’s a limited color palette,” he explains. “Push pins only come in a few colors.”
Daigh gets his multi-colored packs of 500 pins through local retailers. He and his wife, Meghan, sometimes spend their evenings sorting pins into the five colors he uses. Push pins don’t come in black, so Daigh has to spray paint green pins to black.
After breaking the image down to a low resolution, Daigh produces a row-by-row grid that dictates where each color pin should be placed to form the image. Daigh then places the pins, one-by-one, following the grid map. [source]

See more work by Eric Daugh here.  I hope that if he has not been able to buy pushpins directly from a factory, he’s getting some mad love from a Staples Rewards Card.

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