DIGITAL  ARTISTS:  SPREADING  THE  GOSPEL  OF  GRAPHICS

MANILA, July 7, 2005
 (STAR) By Igan D’bayan - Consider this for a moment: Some of the Malangs, Bencabs, Borlongans and Venturas of the future might not be toiling over canvases and tubes upon tubes of oil or acrylic, not grappling with those hog-bristle brushes and painting knives. The next important Filipino artist might just be working with gigabytes and graphics, poring over software applications and special effects. Think of the National Artist of the future with his head in the clouds and eyes on the cursor.

This is the idea behind the International Designers Network (IDN) Club Philippines, a local association of digital artists and graphic service providers formed in 1997. They banded together to promote the use of computers as medium of expression – the same as oil, gouache, acrylic or watercolor. Adobe Photoshop, to these guys, are just another tool on the artistic palette.

And like artists’ groups (take for instance the Saturday Group of Artists), the members of the IDN club meet regularly to talk shop, create together, and (to use a music slang) "to keep their chops up."

According to member Nick Olayao, the group has monthly design competitions to hone their skills. "Our theme for this month is ‘Digital Evolution.’ We members are asked to interpret the change from analog to digital," he says.

And how deftly those guys interpreted the theme. One piece shows a human torch hovering over jagged rocks. Another depicts a desktop computer metamorphosing into an android. One work juxtaposes tubes of acrylic color with graphic software templates and palettes. Another work combines CounterStrike graphics with sadomasochism. It’s Brave New World starring Leonardo Da Vinci.

"We could use different software such as Adobe Photoshop, Bryce, Poser and 3-D Studio Max to render our ideas – kahit anong graphics software," adds Rosie Eristingcol, an IDN club member who works as a graphic artist for the ABS-CBN Foundation.

"The only requirement is that it has to be all-original ‘yung trabaho – very strict kami diyan," Olayao, who works for an ad agency, stresses.

Doing something original is no problem for the members since almost all of them are into photography or graphic design. Some of the themes the IDN members have tackled in the past include "Year of the Rooster," "Anime" and even "Surreal." (Imagine if Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte had access to Corel Draw.) In the coming months, the members will try to interpret themes such as "Flora and Fauna," "Mother and Child" and "Futuristic." Futuristic? Hmmm, that’s what you call theme-meets-tools.

The club also invites resource speakers to expound on various topics related to digital imaging and design (such as customizing the mouse cursor, etc.). It also holds product presentations (software, hardware) in order to update its members on the ever-changing tools of the trade. A monthly IDN newsletter contains product reviews, features on popular software, digital imaging and related topics. All these are undertaken in order to upgrade each member’s knowledge about digital art. ("To level up" is how current IDN president Budee Mendoza calls the club’s relentless drive to improve, as well as to share knowledge.) Recently, the club visited various campuses to spread the gospel of graphics as part of its Digital Outbreak project.

"Nagpunta kami sa UE, PUP at FEU," shares Olayao. "We encourage the students to (explore) digital art."

"We learn a lot from the club," Eristingcol says. "Each of the members sa IDN club may sariling area of expertise. Budee is into 3D animation. Sina Benjie is into Bryce. We get to share ideas. If one of us is interested in a particular software, puwede siyang magpatulong sa ibang members."

Olayao says, "There is no limit to what you can do with digital art. Marami kang magagawa – from fantasy to the Sixties to futuristic. Limitless talaga."

Welcome to the brave new art world.

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Those interested in joining the International Designers Network (IDN) Club Philippines may visit www.idnclubphils.com.ph


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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