Social Web

When Art And Tech Collide

When you think of tech art, you probably imagine digital computer graphics, but that's only one side of the picture. There's a growing genre of artists who use the high-tech, online world as inspiration for old-fashioned artwork.

Sophie Blackall is a children's book illustrator in Brooklyn. She's fascinated with the Missed Connections section on Craigslist. Missed Connections are a kind of classifieds for lovelorn strangers who had a chance encounter and hope to reunite.

Blackall says the online messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. They're usually deleted within a week. So she's turning the postings into vintage-style, watercolor paintings.

On the other side of the world, Tracey Moberly is finding inspiration in similar ways. Moberly is an artist in London. She's saved every text message she's ever received since 1999. She thinks of them as artifacts. She says these everday messages offer a glimpse into the social/political developments of our time, the way Victorian cross-stitch samplers are a peek into the 19th-century. But, whereas, Victorian cross-stitch samplers encouraged good morals and manners, Moberly's upcoming exhibit is about sex, drugs and rock and roll.

And, Blackall and Moberly aren't the only artists who use the online world as a muse.

Matt Held is a social media artist who is recreating famous paintings with people found on Facebook. The result: a hodgepode painting with people from all over the world who don't even know one another.

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