Casualty 14-18 ~ The making of a generative artwork by Richard Bolam – Part 6 #bolamat50 #casualty1418 #WW1

Screen shot 2014-08-02 at 16.40.24

This iteration of the software adds a random number individually colourised figures to the images.

I put in code to duplicate the basic figure, colourise it and then use it to individually overprint and colourise the black figures. I have highlighted the new code in a different colour. It uses the “composite” command and a dissolve operation to change the colour of the figures.

Although this is linux Bash scripting, I am doing the development on Mac OS X and I ran into a problem trying to get the loop working. On OS X there is no implementation of the “seq” command, which I believe is very widely used in Bash, but after a bit of googling, I found an workalike implementation as “gseq”, and this needs to be installed via coreutils in the usual way:

$ sudo port install coreutils

http://www.jaycehall.com/2008/11/04/seq-on-osx/

#!/bin/bash
#casualty make script v9
mkdir ‘Casualty1418-‘$(date +”%y_%m_%d”)
PATHNAME=’Casualty1418-‘$(date +”%y_%m_%d/”)
echo $PATHNAME

for i in {1..30}
do

#pad figure
convert casualty.png -gravity center -extent 20×38 casualtypad.png
convert casualtypad.png -transparent white casualtypad.png
convert casualtypad.png -fill “rgba($[RANDOM % 255],$[RANDOM % 255],$[RANDOM % 255])” -colorize 100% casualtycolour.png
convert casualtycolour.png -transparent white casualtycolour.png

#create tiled image of figures & make background transparent
convert -size 400×646 xc:white -composite tile:casualtypad.png casualtytiled.png
convert casualtytiled.png -transparent white casualtytiled.png

#colourise regions
REPEATS=$[1 + RANDOM % 20]
MAXWIDTH=$[$RANDOM %20]
MAXHEIGHT=$[$RANDOM %17]

for r in {1..3}
do

LEFT=$[$[RANDOM % 20]]
TOP=$[$[RANDOM % 17]]
RIGHT=$[$[RANDOM % (20 – $LEFT)]]
BOTTOM=$[$[RANDOM % (17 – $TOP)]]

echo $LEFT”,”$TOP”,”$RIGHT”,”$BOTTOM” – “$REPEATS
convert casualtytiled.png -region $[$LEFT * 20]x$[$TOP * 38]+$[$RIGHT * 20]+$[$BOTTOM * 38] -fill “rgba(255,255,255)” -colorize 20% casualtytiled.png
done

#add some individual figures
MAXCOUNT=$[RANDOM % 20]
echo $MAXCOUNT
for e in $( gseq $MAXCOUNT )
do
echo $e”/”$MAXCOUNT
composite -dissolve “$[RANDOM % 100],100” -geometry +$[($[RANDOM % 20]) * 20]+$[($[RANDOM % 17]) * 38] casualtycolour.png casualtytiled.png casualtytiled.png
done

#create page dimensions
convert casualtytiled.png -bordercolor white -border 99×90 casualtypage.png
convert casualtypage.png -gravity north -extent 598×850 casualtypage.png

#create label
convert -background white -font Gill-Sans -pointsize 10 -size 598×20 -gravity center label:’Casualty 14-18 ~ ‘$(date +”%d/%m/%y”)’ – ‘$(printf %02d $i) Casualtylabel.png

#composite page & label
FILENAME=’Casualty1418-‘$(date +”%y_%m_%d-“)$(printf %02d $i)’.png’

convert casualtypage.png -page +0+760 casualtylabel.png -layers flatten $PATHNAME$FILENAME

echo $PATHNAME$FILENAME

done

Casualty1418-14_08_02-20

Advertisements

HyperScape X – coming soon at Access Space #Sheffield 24 April – 5 June 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 07.25.37

I am primarily a visual artist and I made a lot of graphic imagery using various software and techniques. One of my all time favourite painting / drawing programs is the now defunkt SuperPaint by Silicon Beach. Adobe bought them up and killed off all their interesting software but I still have version 3.5 and several Macs old enough to run it.

Picture 2

Back in the late 90s, I made several long series of hand-drawn images based on a grid. I spent many hours printing minimalist images on an Apple StyleWriter 2500 inkjet printer. I ended up with hundreds of images but no idea how to get them shown. However, one day I managed to pluck up courage to meet the then curator of the Rotherham Arts Centre, David Gilbert. He gave me my first break and in 2000 I showed a selection of images from the series “Colony”, as well as a large composite-printed image entitled “Metro Propane West”. David has moved on to greater things and I really owe him a debt for having the confidence to show my work. I guess I knew I was onto something but really didn’t know what I was doing.

Nowadays I know exactly what I am doing. Not really, but maybe I will when I grow up.

Surprisingly, I don’t have any documentation of the show. It was in my pre-digital days. At least, my pre-digital photography, video and social media.

In 2000/2001 I was working for the Lovebytes digital arts festival, running their media lab. Before that I had been working in corporate IT and, although never a really hardcore programmer, had been programming computers from way back in the 1980s. It was pretty inevitable that I would get into generative / algorithmic art.

It seemed kind of obvious that I could make a generative work out of the still images. Anyone remember Adobe Director? In the days before Flash and later HTML5, Director was the only game in town when it came to multi-media software. I couldn’t afford a licence but Lovebytes had the software and in their media lab I made a “projector” standalone program that faded gradually from on image to another. It worked well and I might still be able to recover the program.

Picture 3

BUT, back in 2001 I really had no prospect of showing this work on anything more than a 15-inch CRT monitor. Never mind, I have only had to wait 13 years to show it on three 40-inch LED flat screens in 32 bit colour at Full HD resolution.

HyperScape X will be on show at Access Space, Sheffield UK from 24th April to 5th June 2014. Open 11am – 7pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, free entry.

Stand by for more technical info…

The tyranny of the blank page (with timelapse camera)

IMG_5894

My timelapse set-up for capturing the making of “Stained by Dead inkjets”

It’s a scary prospect to embark upon a project where you are committed to a deadline, but without knowing the outcome, and documenting it at the same time.

Any failures are immediately apparent to the rest of the world. But also the successes. I’ve done this kind of thing before and know that something will happen in the process, but not sure exactly what.

I decided to make new, A3-sized paper collages from old test prints and spoiled prints, but a lot of that material is A4, which left me with a compositional challenge if the works were not going to look like something plonked in the middle of a larger sheet.

IMG_5984

Work in progress

Also, a lot of the earlier work was very minimal and hard-edged digital graphics, but I wanted this work to be much more organic and dense. I always try to consider the audience and the venue, and these works are going to be shown in a traditionally decorated pub. Minimalism works well in a blank space, but on the busy walls of a public house, something more human and playful seems appropriate.

IMG_5973_2

“Stained by Dead Inkjets” #1 (title tbc)

When I was younger, I suffered greatly from the tyranny of the blank page. You know that paralysis when you can’t start because you are terrified of imminent failure. It’s not originally my wisdom, but I employ the strategy of spoiling the work in the first place. Many painters will smear a blank canvas with a random wash of paint to solve the problem, and I have found that this technique works for me. In the videos, you can seem me playing around with various simple techniques to distress the original material in order to spoil the canvas and break to paralysis.

The other strategy I employ is just starting. It’s no true to say I don’t think about what I’m going to do, but I believe in just doing something and being open to the opportunities presented by happy accidents.

When I write, I don’t plan, I just start writing. I write in fragments, and eventually, one fragment seems to go with another and so on until a thread appears. Once a logical thread appears, some of the fragments don’t seem to belong and so they get thrown away and might end up in something else. It’s the same with this work, after the first three collages appear to be finished, I have a visual theme emerging. I want the show to be a coherent whole, and these first “finished” works seem to have set the tone. It might all change before we get to the 24th of April, but it’s a good start.

There is a Vimeo album of the making of videos here:

The first 40 years in the wilderness are the hardest – Bolam Retrospective T-90

Bolam Retrospective postcard front

The next 40 years will be a piece of cake.

Today marks the beginning of my press campaign and it’s only 90 days to go until the beginning of my year-long Bolam Retrospective.

The launch event will be held at Access Space and The Rutland Arms, Sheffield UK on 24th April 2014.

At Access Space I will be showing a new version of some old work that was never exhibited fully. It will be a screen-based, generative work entitled “HyperScape X”, and there will also be a display of documentary material. The show will be on from 24th April to 5th of June 2014. Free entry during opening hours, Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 7pm.

At The Rutland Arms, I will be showing a series of collages made from old work and spoiled prints, remixed into new work for sale. The exhibition will be called “Stained by Dead Inkjets” and will be open during pub hours from 24th April to 5th June 2014.

The launch event will be at Access Space 5.30pm – 7.30pm and then across the road to the Rutland Arms 7.30pm – 11pm.

Other exhibitions and events are planned but no dates confirmed. Later in the year, I will be showing some work at The Closed Shop pub in Walkley and also some moving image work along with an education project at Red Tape Central.

Also, look out for the High Street X Roadshow which will be appearing at art, craft and book fairs throughout the year, and BolamTV.

The project has no external funding but is sponsored in-kind by various organisations and individuals. If you would like to sponsor, contribute or host an event, please get in touch. As I keep saying:

“Flaunt it now, because you can’t take it with you.”

Contact details
Website https://richardbolamat50.wordpress.com
Email richard@richardbolam.net
Twitter http://twitter.com/RBDigiMedia
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RichardBolamArtist
#bolamat50

Sponsors (so far)
Access Space is an open-access media & arts lab in Sheffield, UK.
http://access-space.org/
The Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street S1 2BS.
http://rutlandarmspeople.co.uk/
The Closed Shop, 52-54 Commonside S10 1GG.
http://www.theclosedshopsheffield.co.uk/
Red Tape Central is training centre for music technology, information technology and business administration at 50 Shoreham Street S1 4SP.
http://www.redtapecentral.org/

2014: Happy New Year of the Bolam

BolamTV Bolam News graphics.010

Okay, the silly season is over so it’s time to get back to work. It’s less than four months to go to the beginning of my self-curated retrospective of my entire life’s work. There will be a range of exhibitions, live events and online media for a whole year from 24 April 2014 to 23 April 2015. Some venues are confirmed but I am open to offers.

Please keep an eye out for forthcoming events on the “Events” page of this blog.

Email me at richard[at]richardbolam.net if you want to be added to my occasional email updates. This list will not be shared with anyone else.

Please save the date of 24 April 2014, my actual 50th birthday, for a double-header exhibition opening event at Access Space and the Rutland Arms, Sheffield UK.

Also, please follow my Bolam365 blog which will have a post every day for the duration of the retrospective with links, news and examples of my work from the last 40 years.

In the meantime, have a happy new year

He who exhibits and runs away, lives to exhibit another day – 24th April 2014 (save the date)

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 16.26.37

I have to admit defeat. Or at the very least, I have to acknowledge the envelope of my own human limits.

Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

After a mixture of other commitments and a few life problems (nothing tragic) contributing to a slowing of my output, I have decided to postpone No Glove Lost until some time in the future. The back story (the bits you haven’t seen) is turning out to be quite complex and I just can’t find the number of hours in the day at the moment.

More significantly, with the non-negotiable date of the launch of my Bolam Retrospective looming (24th April 2014), I really need to concentrate on that, and particularly the core document of the project, which is the Catalogue publication. I have only finished one issue so far but am planning a series of 12 that will provide a representative reference to my life’s work so far.

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 16.28.34

When I began this retrospective, I started writing documents describing some of my past works and projects but without any idea about how they would be presented. Although it didn’t start that way, this document has become central to the project.

Issue two is underway, but I have a lot of research and writing to do before the series is complete. I am planning to publish the remaining issues one per month during the Retrospective year. All issues of Catalogue will all be available online for free, but if you want a printed copy with spot colour you will have to stop me and buy one.

Please save the date in your diary.

Issue one is available here.