Artist Statement Always try to look beyond your experience and let your brain see what your eyes see. Ask yourself: What do I see? You can look at where you have been and if you are ready to face your own truth, you will see things that are in your field of vision. You will see the reality that the eyes see; if not you won't be able to see what is there in front of you. I challenge myself every day with the question: Do I really see what is there? The direction I take each time I begin the creation process may not be where I intend to go, sometimes it is like being stuck in a loop of known or accepted experience. Now and again, I break out of what I know, I can see something new, and then something special happens. When I look back, I see things differently than the time before. Maybe we as artists do not realize what we invent until we are ready to see our creations for what they are. Talking about our work can help bring understanding to the images we create -- if not for the viewer, for us. Abstract images and ideas that take us to unfamiliar places in our experience create difficulty in the acceptance of new images and ideas for us as viewers and artists. Often artists reject wonderful creations because they cannot see them for what they are, because they are unfamiliar and create discomfort in our learned experience. The viewer rejects the images for the same reasons. Language and images coexist -- one lending to the others content. But is this idea confined to the image? If experience is central to understanding the image, language can clear up unfamiliar questions about the meaning of the image and help us to bring that image into our experience. Language has the ability on its own to create images without the aid of a visual prop. The senses of the mind fill in that blank with what is known or accepted. However, the image the reader creates in the brain will vary from one reader to the next based on the readers accepted experience. The visual prop establishes a focal point that the tool of language can reference and code the image for us to create sameness in the visual experience. When the American Indian first saw Columbus in his ships approaching them they could not see the ships. All they saw were strange waves on the horizon; they had never seen a ship. A Medicine Man after allowing himself to see saw that these waves were ships told the rest of the Indians that the images they were looking at were not waves; they were ships. And they all saw Ships.
Biography: OPEN sign Project www.opensignproject.com This project started out about something else! I have been looking at the landscape throughout Montana for years. I kept asking my self the question what is changing in the landscape that would explain this feeling I have deep inside. Is it the development of the vast open spaces? Is it the urban development that is taking place in our modest towns and cities throughout the state? I just couldn’t put my finger on any one element that would explain the changes to the Big Sky Country I call home. Then Out of the Big Blue Sky it hit me. There in front of me was the answer. It was an unexpected answer to my question. Was there a visual element, an image that would describe the changes in the landscape? Yes was the answer I discovered, but the images was not what I had imagined, it is the Open Sign. I had looked at all the building and development that was going on in the State. I thought that what I was looking for as answer was in the franchise business centers, like the Home Depot and Lowe’s business complexes. Alone with the anchors come the assorted mix of Ross, T J Max, Payless shoes, Petco, Target, Boarders or Barnes and Noble plus the laundry list of others. These developments are large and imposing on the Landscape. Agricultural lands that were once the buffer between urban centers wilderness and open range are now replaced with the packaged box with identity trim that segregates each franchise. I thought that this sameness of appearance was the binding element I was looking for, so when I found the Open Sign I was suspired. I had been reading The Essential Gombrich, by E.H. Gombrich, specifically the essay; The Visual Image: its place in communication. Gombrich talks about our time as the time of the visual image. He stresses the importance’s of the codes images are assigned and how language contributes to the universal symbolism of images and their codes. As I thought about this I was working with abstract images as I have for years only now I have been using the Computer to generate the material I currently use. I was reading Gombrich to enrich my understanding of Abstraction in art. I had a preconceived notion as to what I would find on my quest, it would be some vibrant element of nonrepresentational imagery that would some how symbolizes this idea or feeling about the altered Landscape. But it was not meant to be the images I had dreamt about, it was far more common, far more representational and functional than I ever would have imagined. These ugly functional Open signs are the image of sameness that ties the most diversified group of elements in the urban landscape together, that I would have ever hoped to create. It is so incredibly minimal and expansive at the same time it must be Post Modern! In the span of several hours I had taken dozens of photographs of this modern Icon in the most diverse spaces throughout my community. The Open sign is an icon that represents the greatest age of distribution and products franchising us humans have ever known. The founders of the industrial age would surely be proud. Ford may have put an Automobile in every drive way and be the Father of the industrial assembly line, but Costco and Sam’s club are the Obstetricians of distribution. The wholesale giant Costco stocks these sign in our area, the other major wholesale supplier is Sam’s Club of Wal-Mart fame. In my survey of 3 Northwestern Montana Communities numerous small businesses have incorporated this Icon into their business image. Some business have one of these signs on each approach to their location, front, sides, backs, in windows, doors and anywhere else the sign can be exhibited to convey the message they are Open for Business. In many cases the number of signs or the fact that they even have a sign seems redundant, but none the less the signs are there for the world to see and know the business is open. Invented Words: Homogenation: The Homogenizing of America and the rest of the known world. The inclusion of the Open sign into the business image is a form or method of sameness, likeness. Corponations: The modern geo political structure of international corporate business. These giant business organizations are as large as many governments and far more powerful. They control countries big and small. They dominate product markets and determine modern distribution of trade between nations. Although small businesses operate outside of these corporate structures they are governed by the distribution power that major corporations wield. Today many major corporations own multiple brands that are distributed through a cadre of small business. Some corporations own political parties and control the laws and regulation that control the distribution of products. These product range from the most common items like tooth paste and soap to communications. The Open for business sign ties these themes and ideas to the urban environment and all of its diversification. As small town and big cities struggle to maintain their unique identity the Icon of topic erodes the individual images of the urban landscape. Of course now that we are talking about it you will realize there are many more images that serve the same connecting purpose, but none so bright and as functional as the Open sign, they do work and they work well, the connection is an unexpected side of the intended images. In fact the connection is an abstraction of the original intent. The Project: Create a global network to document the open sign in the worldwide landscape. To accomplish this goal I plan to develop a website that is a hosting platform for the documentation of signs. The site will be open to receive images from anyone who photographs an open sign of the type distributed by Costco or Sam’s Club. These signs are also available from numerous other distributors. Two basic designs are available the picture to the left show each type. The older version is the rectangle while the latest version is sportier. As I have identified these 2 types of open signs I may find out there are other types marketed also. I do know by researching the signs they are available I other languages. Therefore any sign that is mass produced and distributed will be accepted. Any type of image as long as it is converted to a digital format will be accepted. This is the older type sign in my area; I will continue to photograph sign where I find them in my travels. Hints: Don’t worry about the photographic quality of your images; what is important to the project is that the sign is visually legible and shows something the diverse location of its placement. This is a numbers game, as is the distribution of the sign. Your image will be interesting if you stick to these simple rules. The times of day or conditions are fun to experiment with too! I have found that cloudy overcast days or evening as the sun sets yield good results. The signs are bright and want to be illuminated, they create an open atmosphere. Ok so it’s a bad joke, but you work with what you have. I hope you have fun with this, once you start you will find your self seeing these signs everywhere, where they were so much a part of the visual landscape they blended into the background noise, they will now stand out. What to send: 1. Your Picture of an open sign 2. Name, you get credit for your contribution 3. Location of the sign, where you took the picture, town, city, state, country 4. Date you took the picture 5. Anything else you want published with the Photograph 6. Your return contact information, email address, postal address for follow up 7. Your observations 8. Send as many photos as you like 9. If you do not have the ability to digitize the image send a hard copy of the photo with SASE. I will scan it and post it and return your original. 10. Sales if we are so lucky and somebody wants to buy your photo I will send you the contact info and it is all your business 11. Anything I did not think of? Send your images and information to: Email: email@example.com Regular Mail: Eubank/Open P.O. Box 87 Columbia Falls, Montana 59912 The Website is UP: www.opensignproject.com
Country: United States
Site: David Eubank
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