The significance of the jpeg in the arts

At first, it seems like the jpeg is so insignificant that we should really laugh if anybody ever talks about it in an artistic setting. After all, isn’t it just a medium to transport our ideas from one place to another, a modern day quipu with pixels acting as knots, transferring our art into the digital landscape. A jpeg sits in our desktop folders after all , with many other jpegs.

So, what’s in it ?

The power to give more self-employment in the arts and feed society with the much needed creative knowledge to create what we know – at work and in our personal lives- in better ways.

At the moment, most of the art that is displayed in a jpeg is watermarked or created in a low resolution on the web. Artists can also save an image in an swf instead so that it may not be reproduced without permission. After all, at this moment, quite a bit of art on the net is downloaded privately. But, what if it wasn’t ? What would happen if artists were able to sell some art prints on the web as another way to promote and sell their work?

The gallery system and art fairs are not the only places to sell art work. Everyone wants art. Not everyone can buy art for large amounts of money. Art has been seen as being too expensive for “everyone”. I certainly do not think that art that sells for $3500 at an art gallery is for everyone. It has a small niche of buyers. Art on the web also has people wanting to buy art.

But, how many artists ask themselves what is it that the public really wants from me when making their work. Not many. This is one of the problems in the arts. If you look at the statistics, the kind of art that sells is not at all what you would expect.In art school, we are not usually taught to find an audience that will like and respond to what we do, with a marketing plan.

Should we cater to the arts and repond to their needs, if we can label them ? Or, do we market the living day lights out of our art and create this need ? Perhaops , we need both.

One thing is for sure, in a traditional art market, only few artists benefit from very few buyers.
On the web, there seems to be very few artists and art pieces that sell when compared to whow many are out there…however, there seems to be alot more buyers.

With this in mind, we cannot afford to look at the jpegs in the same way any more in the arts, not if they are able to bring art to so many people.


selling art today

There seems to be a stereotype that we can never sell our work as artists that we should not even try, unless we are the very best. Somehow, this doesn’t apply to all professions though, not to the same extent. Art is unfortunately equated as being a luxury for some. Yet, it is abundant in everything we see, hear and breathe. We all live for it. Without imgination, I do not think the new ideas that we need to grow together, in all sectors, can come. The art that can make society grow, in all sectors, is not for free. It comes at a price with a lot of hard work, not just to make it but to have the chance to make it.

Artists need to be commercial to sell period. I do not know why our work, which I admit also has the possibility to allow us to grow , is always seen as something that should be distributed, but never sold, outside of a monetary system….by somebody else… It is precisely because it is necessary, because we live for it, that it should be a part of the system. Engineering, medicine, law, teaching are also a part of the sytem where we grow in a different way. All are necessary. The more we grow and interact in all parts of our society with art, the more everyone benefits.

By hooking up art work to commercial system and selling art in digitized forms, art can be brought to more people in new ways. The possibility for all artist, dancers, actors, film makers etc to make a living of their work should be available for them in different venues that are more practical and allow them to make a living.

Nobody will be more happy than me to see artists become more commercial and look like they are ” a part of the system” since they should never have been excluded from it in the first place.

It is through the use of technology that I believe new venues for making and distributing art will come. Art on the web is different from art that you can touch and feel with your hands but at the same time it allows artists and readers many new kinds of possibilities.

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What is creativity for ?

Creativity should be mixed with other disciplenes…just as it is in real life.

Artists and computer engineers or mathematicians do not always mix at school or in daily life but when they work together and respect each other’s work, in service to one another, the result is more structured art and vivid mathematical or computing science formulas that take shape in very imaginative forms and communicate in new ways.

We must ask ourselves what is imagination and knowledge for? I do not believe that art could really be beautiful without an intention. Creativity needs an altruistic intention to be beautiful ..after all it is a form of communication in space and not just something on the surface, outside of the society that it is talking back to. Art helps us to learn more, to progress. and see what we can be. One example is from what we see in nature. Each mistake is a new opportunity. There is no judgement there.

Art should not be kept to just art, artists and the art world because physically this is not the way it was ever meant to be. There should be space for more mixing with visual creativity in the way we learn, communicate and recreate history, computing science, business and biology. I never saw 11 year old children enjoy learning about the digestive system more as when they were able to gather what they were learning about it to make imovies about how it functioned using drawings and their own art. It seems that creativity makes people more eager to learn, look and listen.

Visual imagery makes people want to connect to what they know, otherwise we could risk objectifying the signified. Numbers or things should never be more important than life and our relationship with it.

visual imagery should be integrated into the work we do. For example, I believe that inteactivity could play a wonderful role in the learning of mathematics. geometry and trigonometry which are both spatial and could benefit from being experienced in an artistic way. Learning about negative and positive integers on a grid could be done by creating identical reflections of sea imagery in a grid, just as it is in some fill in the blank paintings using numbers – except with four sides of reflections. Music as well could be learned using visual language so that a song can become a colourful drawing. The A note could be in the reds while the B note in the oranges…so that a mixture of all these notes has different colours in a particular compartmentalized and possibly sequential space, just as Paul Klee suggested in some of his writings. I always imagine what Ad Parnassum may look like in a song. I suppose it would have to be written and digitized into a grid, since it has seperate components. It would be interesting if musicians, artists and computing scientist could meet to show us what Ad Parnassum could sound like…Could we create a reading system to make some drawings sound good ?

In my opinion, art is meant to give new ideas and hope when there is none, new possibilities when the old ones did not work

Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book

Our Choice : the Sequel to an Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore    


This ebook explores solutions to an inconvenient truth with interactivity ! It’s the first book that I have seen that respond’s to humans blowing into it !  The potential to further expand  human interaction with a heat sensing tool in the software is exciting. This  technology may  create wonderful interactive ebooks for artists ad writers and change the way content behaves with other types sensors that interact with proximity,temperature, sound as well as pressure

You can touch the pictures to scroll all the pages, zoom into a page to open it up. You can pick up the images and open them or fold them back into the book.  Al Gore animates  these very neat and colourful pictures. Who doesn’t want a story read to them ?  In this case, this is an especially wonderful personal way of communicating because the topic of climate change is so important to learn and act upon.  There’s a lot of writing in the book and documentary footage. I think that by involving all the senses , the message of climate change is re-iterated on many different levels. This helps the readers to be more engaged and to understand the topic better.  There are interactive maps in it to see  wind and solar potential graphics in different regions ! You can even blow into the screen to see how the wind energy is being used by a house.

It will be interesting to see how this technology will become available in our software programs ( it’s already out on ipad and iphone) and how it may be improved by adding other types of sensors into the program.

My Sketchbook is on-line !

Hello everyone,

I decided that I would like to put my drawings and painting into a sketchbook on-line so people can see the continuation of my art work. The link to see my sketchbook is It’s in the Art Gallery section (in the sidebar)

I promise I will make more drawings and paintings and put it on-line for everyone to see for free. I hope you will like them.

all the best,

Susana Roque

The Future of the Book

I am writing about a talk given by Umberto Eco in 1994, entitled the Future of the Book, which you can read at

We certainly do know enough about books (ceci) but less about books and computers (cela) together.  Books improve what we know, enhance our imagination and open the possibilities for more creative thought.  Computers organize and digitize our knowledge system within an instantaneous and massive virtual  space of communication. How would literacy change on the internet ?  Will cela tue ceci? Can computers really kill the way we enjoy our books ?

Since the time of Plato, there has been a concern  in Phaedrus, for example, that external devices will be used to dull the memory and thinking of the human mind. In Plato’s Phaedrus,  the alphabet and its extensions of words  frame and compartmentalize what we know on a semiotic level to make sense of the world, however there is a fear that with Hermes’ new invention, memory would be lost. This was said about writing. This concern had also extended today to adding animation and interactivity to our books. Many have wondered that if writers do not leave the spcace in between the lines to their imagination, whether they  would still enjoy the same freedom to think about what they are reading freely to the same extent ?

Computers allow authors to self publish. This means that they can create books using computer software. They also allow books to be circulted on a point to mass level that has nevel been so fast.  Books, in themselves, will always be written, printed and circulated better becasue of the computer… Some things are being replaced more and more by computers such as newspapers to keep down the cost and  increase the circulation. I welcome this change because it decreases our carbon footprint and the medium allows more interactive experiences such as videos and animated pictures.

We have yet to see what  three videos running together in an advertisement does to the way we interpret  what we are areading ?

Books, for the most part, are mostly being downloaded from one form of technology to another (an ipad to an iphone)Provided the ebook looks like a book inside, not much will change.  The music and videos may add more information  on another level, just the way pictures do.  They may frame the writing to a certain extent as well.  If you have a video beside a page with writing, they would both interact together so that  the meaning of both pages affect one another,  as if the video were a picture. In a sense, I guess ebooks would just ask us to relate textx with sound, movement and animation, instead of just pictures. 

The way we reflect and read our information from a book is still as important today as ever. An interactive ebook would just be a new way of reading using more of our senses.

However, when a reader begins to have unlimited hypertextual  and inteactive experiences with the ebook, then literacy may have new components related to the medium of the internet . This depends completely on the creator/s of the book. Computer definitely brings a digital aspect to the story. This means that it adds a code to the formula. Whether this code can be used to enhance the memory and imagination of the user, adding dance, animation, music or video,  is up to the creator of the book . Some ebooks will be descriptive while others will allow the world to open with critical thinking and education. Furthermore, the medium of the internet allowws for the possibility of an exchange of information between many different readers – the author would just need to create this space in the webpage where they have their book. As it is now, many software companies seem to have the technology to display interactive ebooks – but not many are out yet.