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Blog . Richard Fiorelli's iPad Art Show

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Richard Fiorelli's iPad Art Show

11/06/11  |  Posted by Scott Ligon  |  Posted in Digital Canvas - News

  "Nose to the Grindstone" is a show featuring dozens of images created on the iPad by Professor Richard Fiorelli, selected from among the hundreds of images he has created on the iPad in the last few weeks. The images are displayed on iPads as well. The works have been created using the Brushes App, which allows the artist to replay the entire process of creating an image. Viewers can see each work re-created before their eyes. It's in the Glass Showcases at the front entrance of the Gund Building, Cleveland Institute of Art, from now until December 8. We've posted these videos here as well. When we began the Digital Canvas Initiative, we started to consider how we could be helpful in encouraging our Foundation professors to participate. Everyone involved mentioned Professor Richard Fiorelli as someone who would be a particular challenge. Richard did not use email. He did not use the internet. He did not use a computer and, although he was always helpful and supportive, never demonstrated the slightest interest in (or use of) digital technology. I had an intuition that it was remotely possible that his quick and playful mind might respond to the specific characteristics of the iPad if I could show him some approach or method or specific app that made a connection and demonstrated some creative potential for him. Having to deal with first things first, we concentrated on launching the initiative. I made a mental note (as well as a note on my iPad) to do some research and see if I could make a digital connection with Richard at a later date. In the meantime, Richard surprised us all by adopting the iPad as a digital sketchpad from the very beginning of the initiative. After a few minutes of instruction by Mike KimmelRichard began to draw and paint using the Brushes App. He drew and drew and drew. He drew from life (as he always has). He brought the iPads into the material world and documented his experiences. He drew a fire truck from life and made friends with the firemen. They invited him back to the fire station to finish his drawings and have dinner with them. This experience is documented in the show. As it turned out, Richard's digital renaissance was not a result of any effort on my part. I was simply an appreciative and encouraging audience. I love Richard's iPad art and never get tired of watching these amazing images unfold. I also love the fact that Richard completely defied everyone's expectations and dived right in to a medium that was unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable. Richard's digital works serve as a reminder that we are all much broader in potential than we might appear, and that, even if you think you know someone, they can and will surprise you. As Professors, we all spend a lot of time trying to motivate our students to go beyond their comfort zone. Richard put his money where his mouth is, put his nose to the grindstone (to mix metaphors) and surprised us all. These tablets represent a new platform and approach. They bring digital technology into the real world, using natural, intuitive gestures. Most people in the Foundation area have adapted the iPads in useful and creative ways. The most negative among us have even argued about whether you can make anything interesting at all on the iPad. While we were speculating and finding our bearings, Richard Fiorelli quietly went to work and became the most prolific iPad artist of any of us, producing literally hundreds of amazing images in a few short weeks. These images would not have been exactly the same if they were created using any other medium. Many would not have been created at all without the iPad. They documented situations in Richard's daily life and his iPad drawings often helped to create these situations as well. Thanks, Richard, for the inspiration and for the awesome work. I'm sure the best is yet to come! -Scott Ligon

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