Let's go back into time a bit. Remember the disposable camera? Sure you do. Every wedding reception of the early 1990's had a basket filled with those things. The guests were encouraged to pick one up and take some candid shots of the day's celebration. The bride and groom would then take the camera to a film processor (which could have been anything from camera store to a convenience store) who would, in turn, ask the immortal question: "Do you want single or double prints?"
What if I were to tell you that having a camera pre-loaded with film so the user could take pictures, send the camera to a processor and get prints back, was something George Eastman created, and implemented, in 1888? That's right, a technology that we all thought was so cool and so inventive in the 1990's had already occurred over 100 years earlier.
I was listening to NPR recently, a favorite pastime while cooking. It was David Hockney, 75 years old, who is a well-known, British Pop Artist of the 1960's, talking about the recent paintings he has done – using his iPad.
I immediately stopped what I was doing as I experienced the collision of old and new. Repurposing technology, old or new, for artistic expression. On the one hand, older technology for a new use, on the other, a new technology used for an expression that pre- dates history.
It was fascinating to listen to David Hockney describe the challenges of using the iPad to paint. For example, a drawn line is under the finger, so you can't see it until it's been made. Then, the painting is on a single iPad; how do you get lots of people to view it? The painting surface is much smaller. As an artist and teacher of art history, I instantly understood those challenges.
A lot of you reading this may be wondering what planet I am living on to have missed this, but looking at the iPad as canvas, brush and paint, never occurred to me. I viewed the iPad as a tool for appointments, email and news; an object used to make my life better and more productive. One more way to stay mobile and yet connected. Not anymore. It is a discovery of a new medium of expression that I now wish I could get my hands on.
So, what's next then? Well, I can tell you what I am not going to do. I am not going to toss out collections of brushes, pencils and drawing mediums. No sir. I am going to see how much money I can get for them all so I can buy an iPad and start painting.