samantha krukowski


making marks

drawing – digital and analog

As someone who started undergraduate school just as personal computers were becoming essential, and graduate school just as the net began to expand exponentially, the majority of my training – visual and spatial more than textual – was completed using analog media.

I’m part of an in-between generation that feels torn, and often anxious, between modes – and also overwhelmed (and aware of being overwhelmed) by how much information is constantly coming my way and indecisive in the face of it. Finding my way and staying on course requires a different diligence than when I wasn’t potentially connected every moment of every day to just about anything or anyone. My students have been born into this barrage and don’t seem bothered by it, though they do seem unconsciously overwhelmed by it because their response to it is reflexive. They don’t seem to feel that it should be shut off, or shut out, ever, and so they are almost instinctually fine with interrupting or being interrupted, equally comfortable with paying attention or with being distracted.

In order for me to get anything meaningful done, I have to shut things out and put things away and find some silence. No texts. No e-mails. No web searches. No people. Is this because I’m generationally challenged? Maybe. But ironically, now when I put everything aside in order to – for example – draw, I can’t necessarily keep technology at bay or maintain the kind of silence that supports creative flow and original production. One reason for this is that analog drawings are not easily detached from digital practice, even if it is only the idea of digital drawings that hovers nearby. And digital drawings often require diversions as part of their completion – searches to understand software, for example, or to find bits and parts of things they might include or riff off of.

So now, even making marks is fraught – should I draw with a pencil or a tablet? What will my output be? How many processes will one drawing engage? Scale is so changeable, materiality is so exchangeable. Today’s goals – to print a digital drawing on thick drawing paper, send the print to the laser cutter for a layer of etching, and then bring it back to my studio for some interventions with paint and colored pencil – has resulted in a spray of digital forms, a lot of artboards, some e-mails about formatting and paper types, no trip to the rapid prototyping center, and no analog moves at all.

Will a glass of wine help?

Filed under: analog, digital, drawing, thinking

first post from ohio

Moving slows down all sorts of things, even stops some – like creative process and writing practice. But only for a while.

This morning is filled with the words of Rosalind Krauss from her essay ‘Grids’ (October, Summer 1979) and the sounds of the wheels of my chair as I roll back and forth between tables to read and draw. It comes out, after a while, the way we each reckon with trying to understand things. I find I’m starring the text by simultaneously writing notes in the margins by hand and making digital marks. What would Roland Barthes (S/Z, 1970) say about drawing on a machine being part of the readerly/writerly phenomenon?

The paradox of the grid – suspended between materiality and spirit, science and transcendence – is worth revisiting, especially in terms of its centrifugal and centripetal implications in painting. Centrifugal (signaling the world outside) and centripetal (signaling the object itself) forces in representation need to be reconsidered given the increasingly common boundary (finite edge) of the computer screen.

A student of mine recently remarked that his difficulty in making continuous and energetic lines was in part the result of working primarily on a tablet, which required that he contain (constrain, restrain) his marks. The grid is now up against hardware edges. Who is going to make an infinity screen first?

Filed under: art, grid, thinking

February 2016
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