The Daily Rambling Artist: Kicking Easels - Art's Evolutionary Giggle

The Daily Rambling Artist: Kicking Easels - Art's Evolutionary Giggle

My leisure time pre-parenthood was largely dedicated to wandering around museums and galleries. I remember the availability of a text and image class during my time in graduate school. I didn't take the class, but the idea itself makes me think of how all forms of processing are akin to reading text. My time spent perusing those walls were definitely an education.

A particular museum visit still makes me laugh. Standing before paintings of breathtaking landscapes created before the advent of cameras, I allowed my mind to wander. I pictured a skilled artist being introduced to a camera for the first time, witnessing the extraordinary capabilities it possessed. The image of the painter infuriated, kicking their easel in a fit of rage because this machine effortlessly accomplished what took them ages to replicate on canvas, remains vivid laughter in my mind.

I realized my humorous imagining paralleled the transition from traditional photography to the digital era that was happening at that time. I'd invested copious amounts of time mastering the darkroom, only for this new technology to to seeming devour that effort. I can't attest to any historical instances of painters furiously assaulting their easels, but I can certainly think of a few photographers I knew who probably kicked their enlargers.

The silly museum musing also led me to ponder how the introduction of the camera influenced painting. Surely, there were artists who veered away from realism because a camera could achieve that, so they thought of other ways to paint. My approach in photography mirrored this sentiment. I wasn’t interested in depicting what stood in front of me in the tangible world. I wanted to present my version.

The contemporary rise of AI in the artistic landscape evokes striking parallels to these trains of thought. I find myself closely observing and analyzing how AI is shaping art and artists. My contemplation isn't fueled by anger or frustration; there's no intention of metaphorically kicking easels here. Instead, I recognize it as one of the most intriguing enigmas my career, and I'm relishing every moment of navigating through its complex terrain as I evolve as creator.

-Sergio Santos