By day I’m a graphic designer, so like many of us, most of my waking hours are spent interacting with a computer. This body of work began as an exercise in removing myself from a machine and returning to the process of creating with my hands — without a keyboard.
While this work is definitively non-digital: color pencil, ink, and washi tape, it was inevitable that there would be digital “creep,” given that my daily life is consumed by it. As is typical of your average desk jockey, I am susceptible to social media meanderings throughout the day, where I may wander off into the depths of Pinterest and Instagram to get lost in inspiration in the perfectly styled alternate realities found there.
These drawings result from that social media procrastination, where I collect color combinations that intrigue me, sourced from design, clothing, interiors and other beautiful images on Pinterest and Instagram. I convert these found color palettes back to “analog,” translating them from their digital origins into simpler, human-made objects. I am most interested in color, and especially in seemingly unlikely color relationships. Initially this was conveyed as stripes as the most basic and orderly form in which to lay down color and experience how they interact with one another. In working with other forms — triangular fragments, intersecting loops, and segmented chevron patterns, I’m exploring how color relationships shift when presented in other ways.
It would be easier and more immediate to digitally render these same compositions, but it would result in flat, characterless plains of color. As a designer, I am often creating by hand then “improving” upon it by in digital renderings where lines are smoothed, the colors are matched, everything is exact. These drawings represent the backward translation from computer to human, in which the colors are not digitally sampled, but matched and approximated by sight, and the colors are not flat, but instead reveal the lines and gaps of the media that was used.
In a world where computers can increasingly do the same as or out-perform humans, there is a place where humans still excel: in being imperfect.
Gili Wolf is a native of Southern California, having moved from Los Angeles to Boulder, Colorado in 2010.
She received her MFA in fine art from Claremont Graduate University in 2000.
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