Brown Bag discusses technology’s influence on art

By Emmy Liederman
Correspondent

Villanueva uses a 3-D printer to modernize his artistic craft. (Jason Proleika / Photo Editor)

Artists Eddie Villanueva and Marcelo Vera spoke to students about “Incorporating Technology in the Artist’s Studio” on Friday, Sept. 22, in Mayo Concert Hall. Villanueva and Vera have different specializations but share a common philosophy — art is not limited by what has come before it.

Villanueva had a vision to create a sculpture that would “reflect the awe of the drum solo,” something he believes is a pivotal part of a performance and commands an audience’s attention.

Villanueva used computer software, his knowledge of circuitry and a 3-D printer to create a “Drum Sphere,” which has 36 drumsets that send automatic triggers to each drum stick. The sculpture is just one of many examples of how technology can advance an artistic vision.

Much of Villanueva’s art is focused on male gender identity, and one of these pieces is featured at the College’s art gallery.

Villanueva believes that using a wide-variety of material and technology creates more room for artistic potential.

“Any time there is a new technological development,” Villanueva said. “Artists are always there to turn it into something it wasn’t necessarily meant to be.”

As an artist, visual educator and designer, Vera specializes in printmaking and combining traditional and contemporary elements to create his work. One of his signature styles is ceramic print media, in which his final product has designs on both clay and silkscreen.

“I got tired of simply working on paper and wanted to try something new,” Vera said. “I was coming up with ideas that traditional ceramicists maybe never thought about.”

Villanueva expressed a similar thought, saying later in the presentation that he doesn’t limit his ambitions to what he currently knows.

“I think about what I want and how I can get to that point,” Villanueva said.

He is also known for his virtual environment art. Each digital print creates music and the motion of the viewer corresponds with the motion on the screen, allowing for an interactive experience. Vera’s art is featured both locally and internationally, at New York City Fashion Houses and through Global fashion companies, like Armani Exchange.

Vera also has a passion for culture and world history. He has led fellowships and art exchanges in South Korea, Kenya and China.

“Sometimes the areas are technologically advanced, and sometimes they are not,” Vera said. “Artists tend to evolve and adapt to the material around them.”

Vera is particularly interested in Asia’s long history of papermaking, calligraphy and origami and how international artistic perspectives can influence his work.

Just as technology has allowed people from around the world to freely connect and share ideas, diversifying media opens up many new opportunities for artistic collaboration.

“All these different media represent a global culture,” Vera said. “The art comes out a lot stronger with two perspectives and when you meet other artists that are also open to combining different media, there is a lot of collaboration potential.”