Part of Small Stories, Big Lives series by Rafael Gonzales, 2019 (1m 41s)
Photo by Shalom Gibly © 2014
I am driven to make and share art with the same qualities of insatiable curiosity and continual exploration as guided my interest in physics.
Originally from London, I am a San Francisco-based artist, digital art pioneer, author, educator and founder of the online educational resource PaintboxTV.com. I work in all media and blend expressive fine art painting with exploring the latest digital paint technologies. I perform live event painting as entertainment at special events all over the world.
I studied life drawing, sculpture and print-making at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (now called the Ruskin School of Art), Oxford University, U.K., while earning a degree in Physics. My background in physics set the stage for looking intently at, and continually exploring, the natural world and interpreting, capturing and representing its fundamental essence. After Oxford I studied lithography and life drawing at De Vrije Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten, The Hague, The Netherlands, before moving to the heart of Silicon Valley, California, in 1988, where I was introduced to digital painting in 1991, transforming my career from physicist to artist.
My artwork has been exhibited internationally – including at the Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose; at the Seoul Museum of Art; and a Large Heart in Union Square, San Francisco – and is in private collections world-wide. I am the author of six books, including the Painter Creativity series of books; have been a featured platform speaker at numerous international conferences (including Macworld, Siggraph and Imaging USA); have taught workshops world-wide (including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London); and have performed live event painting at hundreds of venues and events world-wide.
I’ve painted at the de Young and Legion of Honor Museums, San Francisco, performed as a tableau vivant portraying the historical artists J.M.W. Turner, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse; performed live painting for seven weeks with the Cirque du Soleil TOTEM show in San Francisco; was the featured iPad artist at the opening of the epic David Hockney “A Bigger Exhibition” in the de Young Museum; selected as the featured iPad artist at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “America Now! Innovation in Art” event in Washington D.C.; and painted live in three media, digital and traditional, on stage with Tommy Igoe’s Birdland All-Stars Band during their five week east coast Art of Jazz tour.
Some Digital Paint Technologies I Have Explored:
I am exploring the exciting artistic possibilities of the amazing world of 3D paint, using tools like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Tilt Brush, Masterpiece VR, and so on. It has to be experienced to be believed! Not only can you paint in three dimensions with depth in the z axis as well as in the x and y plane, but you can also walk around and even through your brush strokes!! Click here to see a live 3D painting performance that I did in Las Vegas based on using Tilt Brush.
It sounds like a tautology – surely all painting involves the eyes, and the tracking of the eyes, along with coordinated hand movement. Except here I was using the Eye Tech Digital Systems eye tracking system to control my painting cursor, blinking to click and double blinking to double click. And it really works!
Worked closely with Corel on integrating a version of their painting software, Corel Painter Freestyle, with the Leap Motion 3D controller that allows gesture driven painting, what I call air painting. Also with another developer on gesture software that used the Kinect motion sensing input system, and with the developer of Ethereal, a Leap Motion enabled air painting software. I have also been exploring using Leap Motion with the Oculus Rift for gesture controlled 3D painting!
Then came my introduction to the Touchjet Pond when I demonstrated it at the de Young Museum’s ArtPoint Jewel City event. Let me digress a moment and look back a few years… I was talking to my friends at Wacom – the creators of the pen tablets that I have used with Mac/PC paint programs, like PixelPaint Pro and Corel Painter, for the last twenty something years – and describing my ideal scenario for live digital painting as performance. I said something like this: “I’d love to have the ability to digitally paint with large free brush strokes on a huge canvas, to move my whole body, and for everyone to see the paint appear as I do so.” Well, at the de Young Museum, using the fabulous Touchjet Pond technology, and the Android app Corel Painter Mobile, projected onto a large real stretched canvas, my wish came true!!!