49 DIGITAL SKETCHES ON THE THEME OF HELICOPTERS
The theme derives from CAMOUFLAGE but is more specialised, dealing only in helicopters. It concerns the ambiguity to identity created, not by camouflage, but observation from the ground of a shifting airborne configuration, a difficulty in accurately identifying service or purpose. Some of this is flagged in the notes to CAMOUFLAGE as the convergence with mock-ups, projected designs and rival makes. What is image and what is subject? Helicopters are interesting because they are so prevalent in society today, used for reportage, emergency rescue and medical services as well as police, military and corporate needs. They are fixtures in our urban skies day and night, now augmented by remote controlled or drone versions.
Pictures of helicopters do not so much disguise their identity as challenge the observer to match them in actual encounters. My pictures are about this slippage and the troubling blurring of functions. Although the name CHOPPERS would seem to refer as often to motorcycles these days (at least on the web) I have used its older meaning (for helicopters) partly because it also suggests the ragged fragmentation used in the pictures.
More notes at the bottom of the page.
CHOP-01A (5 VARIATIONS)
CHOP-02A (6 VARIATIONS)
CHOP-03A (5 VARIATIONS)
CHOP-07A (6 VARIATIONS)
CHOP-14A (5 VARIATIONS)
CHOP-15A (4 VARIATIONS)
The idea for the series occurred to me some time ago, but I hesitated, fearing it may be too narrow to sustain a series. So-called serial imagery is invited with the very notion of a series of course, but as even a casual observer will have realised, I tend to take a relaxed view of variables to a series. Some series proceed along a vaguely narrative thread, appealing to iconographic rather than a formal continuity. I am reluctant to be too strict pictorially, partly I suppose as a reaction against my training (my art school days were the heyday of serial imagery, in the Minimalist sense) partly for fear of being too plodding or predictable. With CHOPPERS however I come closer to the conventional rigour of serial imagery, although I have strayed to include landing and landed choppers. Perhaps this somewhat tighter framing of theme inspired a more vigorous or looser approach to Photoshop’s brush settings. Perhaps the greater severity was just a reaction to the more expansive approach with text in PASS WORDS. In any case, I think these are amongst my most ‘painterly’ digital sketches.