Why I Paint
Painting for me is personal, especially now, for the reason that it permits me to escape the painful obstacles in life and imparts me with purpose. The hours become minutes while I narrate my stories with my brushes filled with paint.
Digital technology has had such a profound effect on my life. It has made my way of life much easier and I can’t imagine what it would be like without it. With deep appreciation for the Internet, especially for the ability to communicate in ways faster than ever, it has generated significant problems as well. My work endeavors to bring some of these issues to the fore in the hope that we can address them together as a society.
In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “Technology is just not a happenstance and not just something that got there when nobody was noticing and so, we are responsible for our technologies and the effects of our technologies, as we are responsible for tidying up our grammar.”
When I think about technology, I am reminded of when I was a little girl. I believed the characters on tv could see me and I would make sure that when I would change my clothing, I would not do it in front of a television. I would often ask myself how it was that we could see them and they couldn’t see us. Fast forward to the future, which is now, and there is a substantial possibility that others may be capable of seeing us virtually through the data technology accessible at present.
My fascination with this subject is the result of taking Kevin Moore’s Contemporary Painting class at the Academy of Art University in 2011. As a result of this exceptional and valuable class, I learned about a variety of styles and techniques while utilizing contemporary ideas. For one of the assignments, I painted a single prying webcam that filled up most of the canvas a muted red with a neutral tone of dark grey. By giving it a red color I created an atmosphere of alarm and fashioned it to appear creepy and intrusive. I wanted the viewer to feel uncomfortable.
Afterward, I set out to collect information about privacy violations. It was as though I were living in a science fiction novel. The sheer number of violations was so disturbing and chilling, that it made me realize the importance of addressing the issue.
Further, I was able to contribute to an important cause through my commitment and love for painting. As a result, I studied the ways to illustrate what had unsettled me.
Throughout my series, I use pixels and glitches. The glitches, brief data errors, produce lines and segments of multicolored patterns. Pixelizations, fragments of lowered resolutions, integrate into their surroundings and reveal themselves in interesting ways. Thus, the pixels and glitches serve as the framework for the data errors in the image. The data malfunctions combine and crisscross each other as they develop into segments of larger chunks of shapes. By dragging in the various colors surrounding it, these fragments seek to harmonize within its atmospheres. The fragments of colorful light blend into the new forms and shapes. Through the creation of new shapes and lines, my paintings are more balanced and structural.
Research is an integral element of visualizing and developing the concepts I wish to illustrate.
First, I begin with the process of sifting through online publications for privacy violations.
An example of some of my research:
““Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viber
Felix Krause described in 2017 that when a user grants an app access to their camera and microphone, the app could do the following:
Access both the front and the back camera.
Record you at any time the app is in the foreground.
Take pictures and videos without telling you.
Upload the pictures and videos without telling you.
Upload the pictures/videos it takes immediately.
Run real-time face recognition to detect facial features or expressions.
Livestream the camera on to the internet.
Detect if the user is on their phone alone, or watching together with a second person. Upload random frames of the video stream to your web service and run a proper face recognition software which can find existing photos of you on the internet and create a 3D model based on your face.
Edward Snowden revealed an NSA program called Optic Nerves. The operation was a bulk surveillance program under which they captured webcam images every five minutes from Yahoo users’ video chats and then stored them for future use. It is estimated that between 3% and 11% of the images captured contained “undesirable nudity”.
Government security agencies like the NSA can also have access to your devices through in- built backdoors. This means that these security agencies can tune in to your phone calls, read your messages, capture pictures of you, stream videos of you, read your emails, steal your files ... at any moment they please
Hackers can also gain access to your device with extraordinary ease via apps, PDF files, multimedia messages and even emojis…”
I am a Figurative Artist based in the Los Angeles area. I portray narrative based oil paintings about webcams and surveillance.