Sticks & Stones: Photoshop
Each installment of our Sticks & Stones series presents the history, evolution, and unusual uses of a single material. You can find our article about Photoshop at my.meural.com/editorial/87.
Today, we’re used to seeing Photoshopped images—it’s hard to find a single “pure” advertisement—and so have become skilled at spotting the signs of photographic altering. There are telltale signs that a painting, drawing, or print has been designed and composed in Photoshop as well, if you know what to look for. Photoshop has given contemporary artists a flexible approach to layers; a complex depth of field in an image is often a sign that Photoshop was used in its composition. The illusion of stacked space punctuated with cutaways, in the work of artists such as Albert Oehlen, Kerstin Brätsch, or Laura Owens, is a direct nod to the modern software and its pictorial organizing capabilities.
Photoshop is a prime example of emerging media not only as a new creative option for artists, but also as tool to expand upon existing techniques and knowledge. It is used in the studios of all major artists, whether they’re using it to create digital art, or they’re just enhancing existing work. Art has long co-opted the by-products of other industries to use for its own means, and, as the world becomes increasingly digitized, unimaginable opportunities lie ahead.