Digital Salon is a series of events designed to showcase and network digital media makers in regional South Australia…Digital Salon defines “digital media” as all forms of digital content and data production, from graphic design through to music making, web programming, software development and online collaboration. Digital Salon is open to anyone working with or learning digital media regardless of skill level.
You can read more about the Digital Salon here/ follow them on facebook here which I recommend doing especially if you are from regional/rural South Australia who uses digital media/means as a part of, or throughout their artwork.
From being involved in this, on different levels, including being profiled on their website, to attending their sessions in person, as well as presenting as an artist and attending via web conference. I’ve been able to find out about other regional people, from a variety of skill levels doing their thing. Also being in the loop with cool resources and opportunities.
I think I am also very much into this project, as its very in chune with my generation, and their ability to adapt to growing technology with excitement opposed to fear. I think the Y’ers have the special ability of being quite computer literate, and are very able to learn things technology related/multi task/scan and take in lots of small bits of information. And its nice to be recognized as a young person for these skills in digital media in a context that is positive (and art related!) and doesn’t go into a 60 minutes esque rant about how young people are apathetic, and spend all their time socializing on facebook (tumblr), without saying/doing anything useful.
This was played as an intro to all of the artists during the session that I did my artist presentation. Recent examples of Digital Media sent to the Digital Salon by Digital Media Makers around regional SA. This sampler includes work by Jessica Foster, Stuart Nankivell, Detlef Baumer and Shaylee Leach.
During my first ever(!) presentation of an artist, I spoke what its like to be creating art in rural area, and how using technology has effected that, with the opportunity to speak about my work, projects that I have been a part of in the Riverland, programs I have used, and have access to. How I gained my skills, limitations etc. From what I can remember (and this may be elaborating a little on train of thoughts).
I spoke about how online community gives you access to finding people that are similar, your birds of a feather. As, doing art in rural areas sometimes it can feel like you are a little ostracized, as sport (footy) is the stereotypical and done activity done in country areas, lest all the teenage sex, drugs, hooning and rock n roll action that happens. So essentially, if you are into art chances are, you might be the only one, so understanding what your benchmark is a little hard. By comparing yourself to the locals every over saturised fuzzy photoshopped picture of a flower is awesome, but in comparison to the artists that you see in books you suck.
So either way, it kind of seems that you have an unrealistic sense of comparison. The other thing is that jamming out in your bedroom, making stuff, can be kind of un-motivating with the idea that no one is going to see this. So with the magic of the internet, I’m able to share and compare my artwork/methods/techniques/ideas to hundreds of other people, young people, teenage girls who make art in their bedrooms. Suddenly you have this sense of community, and motivation to keep making stuff to share with people. The internet also holds so much potential of self teaching, sharing and inspiration, there are tutorials that you can find on youtube, from the basic to the complex. It just really feels like that old cliche is that its what you make of it, its so easy to take advantage of all this knowledge and abilities to make contacts and collaborate using technology (even if it is limited).
I also showed a heap of images, some as a ‘before’ and ‘after’, showing how you can use tools like Photoshop to manipulate, enhance and repair images. Sadly, I didn’t get enough time to show a quick step through of a typical way that I would edit an image, as it was something that was requested. This also brought up the topic of that, technology is something that I have access too. At first it wasn’t great, I was editing photos in fireworks by mucking about with the contrast etc. But it was something that was free, and I didn’t have to go out of my way to source materials, and through this, my skills, and aesthetics evolved very organically. As learning new things, grew to having new and different concepts to play with, which would grow again as I got access to better technology/software/digital cameras.
In between all of my ranting I almost forgot to speak about my mentorship; I spoke about how I had been directly inspired by other regional people putting in applications to JUMP and other mentor/grant programs, and decided to give it a go so that I would have the opportunity to practice writing grants and being rejected. In saying that, I think its important to not assume that just because you are young/don’t have a degree or certification in your art form/from a small regional area, don’t let that put you off applying and trying for these things if you really want them. Because it can actually happen, it can work and be successful. Because so much of it is how hard you work, and how innovative and resourceful you can be, making the most, out of what you have. And its also really about giving you access to things that you need in order to grow whether that be income to make projects possible, or insight and advice from a professional working your dream career, or just the reassurance that the work that you do is worthwhile, that you aren’t crap and there are always new and exciting ways that you can grow, learn and better yourself.
That being the main gist (from what I can remember) of my artist talk, and from what I heard back in text messages, emails in person, I was relieved to get positive feedback.
Some other artists that you should check out are JUMP alumni (Team regional arts!)
- alysha hermann Riverland SA creator of the Pressurelands project
- Jessica Foster Mount Gambier
- Joel Panther Mount Gambier
Below I have copy pasted some of content thats featured on my profile on their website:
What does your Digital Media involve?
I am a young visual artist, an ‘art/drama kid’, with a niche (and a bit of a crush) on photography. I’m in the process of emerging with my first big leap forward; being a part of the 2011 JUMP mentorship program, being mentored by the very successful photo-based artist Deborah Paauwe. I use a few different D/SLR’s, whatever I can get my hands on, I use Photoshop & other software to edit & manipulate my images. I create photographs, stop motion films, to explore places, to tell stories or to project ideas about identity, feelings, themes, ideas, & to capture pretty or ugly things, or people sometimes, re-creating memories with a gloss of fantasy, nostalgia or blurred dreams. I like the idea of using a camera to re-explore the world, looking upon like seeing it for the first time, and this process lets you discover things that you wouldn’t normally see, it has changed the way that I view the world.
I’ve designed, created & managed websites before, using Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Pegboard & now Joomla. I am currently working on a group project for a website ‘Riverland Youth Connect’, as part of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition’s ‘Online Community Youth Spaces’. Where I am going to put some of my skills to use, and come up with useful & cool looking website design. I’ve also done some in kind design work, & made lots of promotional material using InDesign, Photoshop & word for online distribution.
On top of that I shoot, blog, tweet, tumblr, youtube, facebook, stumble around the internet using social media to connect with people, broadcasting ideas & work, experimenting with the digital media available to me. While lusting over equipment/skills I don’t have (yet!). I’ve seen some great projection stuff, where graffiti was projected onto buildings, & I’ve seen some great sound/images/projection mashups as part of theatre productions & art installations, which I would love to learn so that I can build upon my own art practise.
What does the term “Digital Media” mean to you?
I think its pretty broad, & maybe even vague, to me its something that has been created, edited, processed or even sometimes presented via some kind of digital means, i.e. computers, projectors, etc. I think this is because technology is encroaching on our lives every day, and leaking into how we process information about the world, and how we communicate & express ourselves to each other.
How do you present your Digital Media?
I use digital media alot in a professional, personal and creative context. In creating slideshow presentations for projects, promotional means for work, communicating with friends, blogging seeking and creating opportunities on a personal level.
I do alot of projects from my bedroom, working with friends or family when their available, this stuff which has to be quite innovative & motivated, because your only really doing it for yourself, can be frustrating. But the motivation of knowing that you can share your stuff on the internet, in my experience, keeps me inspired to work harder & to experiment further. I use various websites to present my work, but I’m currently trying to find ‘safer’ & smarter ways to do this, so that I can protect my work from being stolen or used without my permission.
What medium do you work in?
Visual arts and photography, with touches of photo manipulation, sometimes animation and film.
How did you learn your skills?
School has my generation brought up on computers, as I got older alot of the work transferred from handwriting, to using computers in some capacity in every subject. I’ve formally completed two TAFE courses in dealing with digital media one creative (Cert II in Multimedia) & one in a business context (Cert III in Business arts admin). But alot of the stuff I do is self taught, either from tinkering around figuring out how things work for myself, or from online tutorials.
This year I have been lucky enough to be selected to be a MEGA participant, so I am anticipating having a bit of a leap forward in terms of my skills.
Do you see yourself as a hobbyist, emerging or professional?
In terms of being an artist, I started out as a passionate hobbyist as being mostly self taught, finally giving in to this passion to follow my he(art) so currently emerging, and hopefully continuing into a professional.
I’m not really sure what my benchmark is for how skilled I am yet, in some of my skills comparing myself to an older generation there is quite a gap, because they didn’t grow up using computers in everyday life activities. In this context I have a bit of an advantage, but I know I have alot more to learn & I always want to strive to be better and improve my skills and knowledge.
I started off using a really dodgy digital camera & editing them in Fireworks (which is supposed to be used moreso for making websites), because that was the technology available to me, and it was cheaper than going out and buying tangible art supplies, or cameras with film. From there I just kept going.
What are the skills you use in making your work?
The capacity to conceptualise ideas, develop them and then trying to learn/find/experiment skills & resources to make these ideas work.
Is your digital media something you have been drawn to do, or has it been a survival skill ?
Both, I like digital media because it opens up so many more opportunities, and I think its always being necessary, and soon even inevitable I think in a professional sense, to learn at least basic skills which is part of staying up to date. Even with really simple procedures, in boarding school we had to sign in and out with a thumb scanner! Learning new skills to keep up to date is really easy for me, but being able to get your hands on the latest gadgets & resources is the hard part, due to financial, & also availability, especially in a regional context.
Does being familiar with digital media and the tools you use give you any edge in your work or life?
Definitely! I’m known as the ‘tech head’ in my office; I manage the majority of our online content on our website, and got us onto the different & new streams of social media to catch us up to other companies. I’m the one called over to troubleshoot whenever someone is having a technical issue; this includes my father when the remote control for the television is involved.
Where do you see these skills taking you in the future?
Gosh, I don’t really know, I think it will be handy, because I think It will keep me travelling down this stream of where arts, community, technology, learning, sharing, creating all overlap.
What do others think of you and your work?
Artistic, because I don’t think I have the integrity to be geeky, or the enough fluency to be techie. Being artistic leads me to learn more geeky/technical skills, and learning more skills inspires me into thinking of more artistic ideas that I didn’t think would be possible.
Right now I am pretty amazed & infatuated at using Twitter for social networking, keeping up to date with news, having a presence for yourself and the Riverland as a region sharing and finding out about opportunities. Through twitter I have been able to connect with people and professionals that I admire, connect and get to know with likeminded people from Adelaide & I have been alerted to opportunities/prizes/gigs that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Its also really easy to sift through to follow on things that interest you, by using hashtags to connect to people having conversations about the same things, i.e. watching the same doco & commenting on it, cyclone yasi, the Qld floods. (I’m trying to promote Riverlanders to use #RiverlandSA). I also like how easy it is to link things to Twitter, blogs, videos you’ve watched and recommended articles in the newspaper, causes that you support.
I’m also aware of the impact that Facebook can have, it can be really good, because its a social network that the majority of my friends use, but it is very easy to negatively affect your professional image, which is something that alot of 18-19 year olds like myself don’t really think about because its a carefree age, but the things you upload are going to forever be on the internet, & could potentially impact you in your professional context, (employers Facebook stalk too!). Simple precautions like editing your privacy settings & being mindful of the things that you upload or write on there help. But you can go further, by contributing to it in a positive sense. i.e. posting about causes you care about, opportunities for people, promoting yourself as an artist/bands whatever.