I don’t own an iPhone. Like most outsiders, I occasionally have envy, but perhaps never so much as I do after hearing about an iPhone application called Brushes —software for digital paintings that can be made at any moment on your tiny screen.
There is a flickr group dedicated to the images, and the application has received a lot of attention lately because the latest cover of New Yorker magazine was painted on it — using nothing more than an expensive gadget and a fingertip.
Predictably, “fine artists” are balking. The age-old question, “But, is it art?“ is being ponged around the globe. I used to have an art therapy professor who insisted that if you didn’t get messy making it, it wasn’t art.
But I disagree.
What do I like about the idea of Brushes? A few things, all of which are in the service of (hopefully) getting more people to do more art:
- It’s portable. You can always have it with you, unlike your fancy easel, your sewing machine, or your favorite buzzsaw.
- It’s small, which means that you are more likely to finish what you start.
- It has an undo function, which creates an illusion of safety in risk-taking and may encourage experimentation.
- A special viewer allows you to replay your painting, stroke by stroke, which is a neat way to honor, reflect on, and celebrate artistic process.