Category Archives: visual experiments

Teaching Story – The Great Warrior

Kabuki symmetry

Kabuki Warrior (S.Calhoun-2014)

There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.

One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move.

Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior’s challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed.

Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. “How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?”

“If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?”

from: Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors

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Artist’s Way of Flow

Alchemical Function versions

The first example is the final version. Second is the original photograph of lilies taken in our backyard, and then follow several versions. Recently, I’ve taken my one year+ experiments in applying symmetry translations to photographs and other sources in a new direction by applying additional generative content to the pre-mirrored raw sources. If that content is itself a symmetry, then I can mirror the symmetry in the mirroring of the conjoined source.

Alchemical Function

2014 – Alchemical Function – 18×12″ proof

The final version reflects–pun intended–the layering of a pattern over the photo of the lilies. This pattern was derived on the iPad using an app, then mirrored, enlarged, layered at partial opacity over the photograph and mirrored a last time.


symmetry experiments: tumblr

my naive art: online ongoing gallery

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New URL for Symmetry-Hypotheses

2 Views of Coleridge

Two Views of Coleridge

On July 2 I publicized the new Tumblr site for barely washed results from the symmetry section of the visual lab.

Soon enough I realized the title of the Tumblr blog and the URL were not in alignment. I cast off the old URL and sent all the old addresses into something like intertube purgatory. However, the now congruent site at least reflects its theme in its titling and addressing.

symmetry-hypotheses.tumblr.com

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Mirroring NASA Galactic Photos

Carina Nebula

Carina Nebula

symmetry Carina Nebula

Vertical symmetry. I recently had reason to do a lot of searching in PD image resources. Because I have a good idea of what makes for good source material for adding to my symmetry series of visual experiments, I knew this Hubble photo from NASA would be a likely fruitful source. Yup.

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Tumblr Site for Symmetry Series

Symmetry-Hypothesis

 

I created a tumblr for my symmetry and mirroring visual experiments, Symmetry-hypothesis.

The main gallery of experiments my naive art will receive the best of my symmetry and other visual experiments, while the tumblr will receive symmetry-focused rejects, works-in-progress, amusing failures, and the good stuff. Be sure to click on the icons to see the full view.

Symmetry-hypothesis

 

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Symmetry Series – The Dowser

The Dowser  - series

The Dowser — series – symmetry sketches from a photograph – S.Calhoun 2014

The source photograph, taken with an iPhone 4s, ProCamera app, is at the top. The manipulations were all done using the excellent stand-alone application (for Apple devices,) FX Photo Studio Pro 2.7.

I do not know if there is a keeper in this series. Still, the series reflects the fascinating metamorphosis of feel that simple alterations generate. The black and white bottom item looks like an old illustration in a children’s book.

Above it is one that might be worth doing manipulations within Photoshop.

 

 

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Talking

Talking S Calhoun

Talking No. 4 (photograph + manipulation; S.Calhoun 2014)

African parable: A hunter went into the bush and found a human skull. The hunter asked, “What brought you here?” The skull replied, “Talking brought me here.”

Overwhelmed with his find, the hunter ran to tell the king. When the king heard the story he said, “Never in my life have I heard of a talking skull.” He summoned his wise men and asked them about this oddity. But none of them had heard of a talking skull, either.

So the king summoned one of his guards and said, “Go with this hunter into the bush. Find the skull. If it talks, bring it back to me. If the hunter is lying, kill him.”

The hunter and the guard went into the bush and found the skull. The hunter said, “What brought you here, skull?” But the skull was silent. So the guard killed the hunter on the spot.

After the guard departed, the skull opened its mouth and asked the dead hunter, “What brought you here?”

“Talking brought me here,” the hunter replied.

Candles in the Dark A Treasury of the World’s Most Inspiring Parables compiled by Todd Outcalt

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Sepia Invitees

Set-up

The Set-Up – the ongoing model two-master being slowly integrated into the garden. It’s been there for over a year. As a photographic subject, it has been the source material of a handful of intriguing pieces in my ongoing Symmetry Series.

Sepia-Invitees

Sepia Invitees 2014 -S.Calhoun – 19″x13″

This is a spooky piece and I’m on the fence about whether or not I will run it through the large format printer.

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Shell Game

digital art: Shell Game S.Calhoun

Shell Game – 2014 – 14 x 11 – digital proof for dye giclee

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Symmetry Experiment: Garden of Thrones

Symmetry

My symmetry experiments continue. This is a manipulated photo from the set-up in the garden, a decaying model three master, that I’ve been using to generate source material for the experiments for the past year.

Here’s the first keeper from the experimental series, from last summer.

shipwreckvet-copyGamelan

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Symmetry Series – God of the Navy

God of the Navy

God of the Navy – 2014 – 10×8″ dye proof

A keeper from the symmetry series of experiments–and for every keeper there are 20 thrown away and maybe one or two future record covers.

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Tall Order

Tall Order

Tall Order – symmetry series 2013 – S.Calhoun

 

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Visual Experiment: Real Voodoo #1

Real-Voodoo-#1bIMG_0234o

Real Voodoo #1 work-in-progress – SCalhoun 2014 – 12″ x 12″ dye proof

This is the original I’m working with to some conclusion, eventually.

Real-Voodoo-#1IMG_0234o

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The Ark

Concept & Visual design by Romain Tardy
Music composed by Squeaky Lobster

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Symmetry Series: Here We Are

Here We Are

2013 Here We Are SCalhoun; photograph and post-processing

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What Remains

Mountain


SCalhoun – Mountain

Zazen on the Mountain

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away .

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

Li Po (701-762 )

 

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Visual Experiment: On the Trail (ARK)

On the Trail

November 2013 – work-in-progress (ARK via Dreamlines)

On the Trail 2013 SCalhoun – 14 x 11″

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Symmetry Visual Experiment

Guardian Angel Dude

Work-in-progress, November 2013

Guardian Angel Dude; S.Calhoun; 28″ x 22″ draft version, for giclee, glassless float

The display choices reflect that the symmetry experiments seems to me to demand at least a two foot, or longer, side. I have begun framing an earlier piece in a simple glassless frame and the image is not big enough. The reason size matters is that the clever visual trick of the symmetry operation creates details and the viewer’s sight really needs to be thrown right into the ‘thick’ center of the image.

Each experiment triangulates the source image and its own supporting features, the simple symmetry formula, and the element of surprise. Most experiments I’ve done are failures, yet, crucially, each failure is worthwhile too. Each failure teaches me more about how to refine my technique.

Guardian Dude Center

If you look closely at the top center of the top image you can pick out this clip. I’ve enlarged this clip–keep in mind my experiments are entirely digital–to 30 inches, or larger than the source image. I’ve been archiving such ‘central vertical line clips’ with an eye to making a piece out of the best of those clips.

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A Fire God

A-Fire-God-b

2013 S.Calhoun; 22″ x 8″ dye giclee

A keeper from the symmetry experiments using photographs from the back yard as source material, then FX wizardry.

My Naive Art Gallery

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Buddha In the Garden

Buddha In the Garden

2013 S. Calhoun – Buddha In the Garden – photograph + manipulation + FX

Buddha In the Garden detail

I’ve been working on symmetry visual experiments. These experiments generate lots of initial intrigue that morph into throw-aways. However, sometimes the experiment captures lightning in a bottle.

The original photo:

BuddhaIntheGarden-2

One rose bush features a single orange-yellow bloom surrounded by white flowers. I moved the color map around a bit. The detail I’ve clipped and posted reflects how most symmetry experiments succeed or fail on the fact of having compelling, or not compelling, details.

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