High-tech artwork going on display

Saturday, July 17, 2004

With modern technology, creating works of art is no longer limited to paints, brushes and canvas. It can also be created by using a keyboard and mouse.

Evidence of this is currently on display at the Cape Girardeau Public Library.

The library is featuring 30 student works created during Southeast Missouri State University's computer art workshop, a four-week course that taught students to make art using Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Macintosh computers and scanners.

Using these instruments, students manipulated and integrated photos, textures and drawings to their liking.

Instructor Louise Bodenheimer, an associate professor of art, graphic design and illustration at the university, started the workshop six years ago as "something that would enhance the curriculum."

"I have a MFA in painting and drawing and graphic design, and I saw these two worlds could become one in a course like this," she said. "It was very exciting."

Fifteen students attended the workshop and while most had a background in art, if not a major, there were also four computer science majors.

For some, using a computer to create art was a new experience, Bodenheimer said. Despite some initial wariness, Bodenheimer said, these students were able to learn the software and come up with the 22 good images required for the class.

"They're learning as they go along. It's an introduction class, there's a lot of discovery," she said.

Despite his graphic design background, student Dustin Keele said he learned a lot from the workshop.

"There was so much I didn't know," he said.

He also enjoyed that the workshop allowed him to be expressive and creative, unlike the structure of his graphic design classes.

The class did not even use computers until the second week of classes; instead they were focusing on generating images, whether with photographs, drawings or other inspirations.

Keele said Bodenheimer's philosophy is that the computer is just a tool.

"The computer doesn't make you an artist," she said.

Some people think computers do not produce legitimate art, a belief Bodenheimer is familiar with but disputes.

Although she thinks the computer will never replace traditional art methods, Bodenheimer believes computer-generated art is legitimate art that takes talent and hard work.

And Keele, a graphic design major, agrees, saying no matter how well a person knows the software, their work is not going to be good if they have no artistic sense. Playing with a photograph in Photoshop, for instance, is no guarantee it will turn out interesting, he said.

"I think it's just another way of making art," Keele said.


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