Touch Upon a Star: Touch Technology Meets Art

These days, some may argue that technology has rendered many classic mediums obsolete. But for artist Jeremy Sutton, this is far from true. Combining technology and art opened up an entirely new creative realm for the California-based painter.

From eye and air painting, to 3D technology and the Touchjet Pond, Jeremy has explored just about every innovative medium available to him. “I am still keen to explore, experiment with and push the limits of new drawing and painting technology and media,” he explained. It’s one of the things that makes him a star in our books – embracing technology and art to transform the world around him. Here’s what Jeremy had to say about his passion for art and how it has transformed thanks to new innovations:

Question: How did you first become interested in art?
Have drawn since I was about three years old. My mum, an artist, and dad said I could draw all over my bedroom walls, which I did (as far as I could reach), as long as I left the other walls in the house alone! My most important role model and inspiration is indeed my mum, Margaret.

Question: How has your passion grown and changed over time?
As a child and up to my teenage years, I drew mostly from imagination using pencil and pen. I went to study Physics at Oxford University. There I started drawing in a sketchbook almost every day—I drew people from life. I also studied life drawing, as well as etching and sculpture at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. Shortly after, I moved to the Netherlands, doing life drawing and lithography at the Vrije Akademie in the Hague. In my twenties, my subject matter changed from imaginative scenes to direct observational figures and portraits. I experimented with different media: black and white photography and darkroom techniques, different print-making techniques, sculpture and so on.

Almost a quarter century later, people are still one of my favorite subject matter, and especially portraits. I also love painting cityscapes, collages, dancers and musicians. I am still ever keen to explore, experiment with and push the limits of new drawing and painting technology and media.

Question: What was a major turning point for your art?
Answer: The big revolution in my art media was in 1991 by which time I had moved to live in the heart of Silicon Valley (Palo Alto). I was drawing a portrait at a party in Woodside and someone leaned over to say, “Wow, that’s good! I should introduce you to a friend of mine who makes painting software.” The rest is history, as they say… I was introduced to PixelPaint Pro, the Wacom Tablet and Macintosh computer. Two weeks later, I was drawing live portraits of attendees at the biggest computer graphics show in the world, SIGGRAPH Las Vegas.

Question: How did you start using the Touchjet Pond Projector for Painting?
Answer: When I demonstrated it at the de Young Museum’s ArtPoint Jewel City event in November 2015. Let me digress a moment and look back a few years… I was talking to my friends at Wacom – the creators of the pen tablets that I have used with computer paint programs, like PixelPaint Pro and Corel Painter, for the last 20 years – and described my ideal scenario for live digital painting as performance. I said something like this: “I’d love to have the ability to digitally paint with large free brush strokes on a huge canvas, to move my whole body, and for everyone to see the paint appear as I do so.” Well, at the de Young Museum, using the fabulous Touchjet Pond technology, and the Android app Corel Painter Mobile projected onto a large real stretched canvas, my wish came true!

The Touchjet Pond is the first technology which truly allows me to bridge that gap between the digital and non-digital canvas, literally – by allowing me to use my whole body to paint on a large canvas so that onlookers can easily watch, to enjoy the visceral tactility of touching a real canvas, yet with the versatility of digital paint.

Jeremy Sutton: Painting with PondJeremy Sutton’s live Pond art puts our stylus-skills to shame.

Posted by Touchjet on Monday, November 23, 2015

Question: How do you feel when you’re creating a piece?
I love the adventure and journey of being in the process of painting… having an overarching vision and looking intently at a subject I wish to portray, yet allowing the painting to flow and take me places I hadn’t predicted. I love the presence of being totally in the moment and in the activity, embracing the unexpected, and always being open to transforming anything anywhere on my canvas.

Question: How do you want your talent influences others?
Answer: Most important is that it gives great pleasure. If it also inspires people to have a go themselves, all the better!

Question: What advice would you offer to someone interested in being an artist?
Answer: Becoming an artist is simply a matter of taking a deep breath, pausing a moment, and saying to yourself, “I am an artist.” Voila! I always felt I was an artist at heart, even when studying and subsequently working in Physics. Now, advice on becoming a “professional artist” and on earning your living from your art is a very different question… The one common thread running throughout any advice in this regard is simply work hard and make lots of art! I mean LOTS!

Who are your stars? Tell us about them using #TouchUponAStar. Then follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see how Touchjet Stars around the globe are showcasing their talents as well throughout the month of December.

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