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Tools change, view is the same

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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For most of humanity’s span, painting has been dominated by the use of small pigment particles bound in a sticky transparent medium of some kind. In the last century, we’ve developed new ways of making images. But sometimes, though the tools change, the images are the same.  Human experience is human experience after all.

Tahitian Women Under the Palms, by Paul Gauguin. 1892, oil on canvas, one of the oldest ways to make an image: colourful pigments in a transparent medium.



Reclaimed © Adrian Bobb, used with permission. This beach image was created using Photoshop, in other words by painting with backlit pixels, painting with light. Make sure to visit Adrian's rewarding science and concept art portfolio, it's stunning.


Agar Plate of Fluorescent Bacteria Colonies, Tsien Laboratory. Will this be the new medium of the future? Not pigments; not pixels, but living material?

The beach.  Palm trees. We could show any of these images to an ancestor from thousands of years ago, and they could understand them, even if not how they were created.

Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite and is on Instagram. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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