Emerging Art Form: QR codes

Constraints as a Channel to Creativity

Most artists will admit, there is something creatively exhilarating about constraints put on the creation of your work. Some art exhibits require work done in a certain medium–like the Transparent Watercolor Society’s requirement that the art actually be completed in transparent watercolor– not opaque. Or the challenge of a small size for the work, like less than 100 sq inches, in a variety of shows, Richeson’s Small Works show (note to enter the show for this year, entry is 11.4.11).  Or, see a fantastic example of small space art–less than 8×10 at the Soap Factory’s $99 fundraiser, MN.  As an aside, this is a genius way to raise money for an art gallery.

I have a friend who constrained herself to paint only on hub caps.

One time I had run out of watercolor paper, so I painted on manila folders. Not too bad;  not my best work, but a change of materials can be enlightening. I can’t tell you the number of times I and other  watercolorists have dipped their brushes into their coffee instead of their water. Partially due to that happy accident, now some watercolorists have  reverted to painting with coffee. It makes a beautiful sepia tone, although I would not consider it archival. I’m quite fastidious about archival materials.

On the “social-media-meets-emerging-contemporary-art” scene, I am newly intrigued with the challenge of creating eye-catching, stunning, silly or brand-sensitive QR codes. They are those odd little boxes that look like a scrambled-up bar code– which is sort of what they are. The “Quick Response” code can be read by downloading a scanner app and scanning the code. It can provide coupons, videos, content, etc.

A startling QR code for the thrid season of HBO's True Blood.

From the artist/designer’s perspective, it’s certainly a constraint to design an image within a defined shape containing elements that are readable by a downloadable app and still carry the double meaning of the code AND the message of the artist.

Mashable.com has a discussion on how to make QR codes more beautiful.  In a recent Facebook post on Mashable’s page, a discussion grew about if a QR code is more appealing, are you more likely to download the app and scan the code? Although some people said they would prefer a more tangible reward (like food) the consensus was yes; the beauty of the image would motivate them to behave in a way the brand wanted them to.

Note the little trees in the south-east quadrant.

Ahhh-h-h-h, beauty wins again. Or on the True Blood one; maybe it’s gore that’s winning. A little creepy–but you can’t ignore it’s power. In any case, superb design gets a nod for efficacy.

Constraints can come from necessity, accidents, forgetfulness, a drive to challenge one’s self, or just goofing around.

I think constraints can actually can lead to more innovative art.


About artinthecenter

I am a lifelong artist having studied painting, photography, drawing, and other media, in schools in the US and Italy. I won my first art contest when I was five--at a museum-- and my point of view tends to be as a five-year-old creative child embracing life. Creativity is a core response for me. How can we bring the infinite knowledge and excitement held by our museums and academics into the heart and minds of everyone? There is so much to share. Let’s ask questions, and discuss. Follow me on twitter @janemmason. Check out all sort of artsy information at: www.watchingpaintdry.com +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ This policy is valid from 1 January 2016 This is a personal, educational, blog written and edited by me, Jane M. Mason. For questions about this blog, please contact: jane@watchingpaintdry.com. Sincere effort has been exerted to cite, recognize, and thank all sources of content, including images, quotations or concepts that are not those of Watching Paint Dry LLC (WPDLLC), including Jane M. Mason. If you feel we have included something in this blog that has not been accurately noted or recognized to be from a source other than the intellectual property of WPDLLC, please let me know and I will adjust the citation when presented with specific citation sources and details. As an artist and writer, a core principal of mine is to respect and recognize intellectual content of others. If you are interested in using concepts, photos or other intellectual property from this blog, please contact, Rights Manager, Danielle Raub at Hello@watchingpaintdry.com. This blog does not contain any content that is likely to present a conflict of interest, although opposing points of view, as long as they are respectful, are welcome. This blog does not accept cash or paid topic insertions. However, we will consider accepting and keeping free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations. The compensation received will not influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements. The owner of this blog, WPDLLC, is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics within the content of this blog. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are those of Jane M. Mason or the associates of WPDLLC. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. This policy has been adapted from DisclosurePolicy.org. For your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

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