Pretty much since the day I met the uber talented Jeff McMillan we’ve talked about collaborating on something. After our Sundance Film Festival hopeful, “Trash Boat: The Movie” fizzled out we’ve been at a loss for clever ideas. Jeff, you see, is teaming with natural talent and years of training. Myself, not so much. I love creating, but even in the rare case that I can illustrate anything with a modicum of pleasantness it takes a loooong time. And effort. And usually a hint of plagairism. So, we decided to mix my training and his, a blend of science and art. The scientific question is timeless and fundamental, what is good art? The usual answer given is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the scientist in me doesn’t believe that, or at least thinks that beauty can be quantified. And doing so is the central thesis in this art experiment.
The design (if you detect a hint of tongue-in-cheek overly verbose description, you’d be correct):
Hypothesis: A drawing is made up of 3 equal components. 1) Line work, 2) color theory and selection and 3) color execution. When decomposing a technically proficient composition and supplementing with technically insufficient skill the piece will linearly degrade in “appeal”.
Methods: Two participants with polar artistic backgrounds will contribute varying components to a single piece. All permutations of component contribution will be executed. Line work will be done digitally using a WACOM tablet drawn in photoshop, constrained to a minimum of 30 minutes to further characterize technical ability. Color choice will be limited to 8 web-safe colors, chosen independently and prior to composition with pseudo-realism being the aim. Execution will be limited to 30 minutes, again to maximally characterize technical capability. The 4 linear permutations of this would then be:
1) Artist – 30 minutes of line work, 8 color choice, 30 minutes of execution.
2) Artist – 30 minutes of line work (copied from 1), 8 color choice (again, copied from 1). Layperson – 30 minutes of execution.
3) Artist – 30 minutes of line work (copied from 1). Layperson – 8 color choice, 30 minutes of execution.
4) Layperson – 30 minutes of line work, 8 color choice, 3 minutes of execution.
Analysis: To quantify the aesthetic appeal of the various composed pieces, a web based survey will be used. Presentation of each composition will be displayed randomly and independently to counter balance the design for order effects. The user will mark each composition on a linear scale of 1 to 10. Each entry will be recorded into a database for later aggregation and data analysis.
Pretty nerdy, huh? I should have the web survey up in a following post soon. In the mean time here are the 4 images from worst to first: