PhoneArts.net is a young international collaborative project where new media based artists experiment using mobile phone as the medium to create unique compositions. The collective is formed by the founders of, Guillaume Hugon Franconville, France, Daniel Littlewood NYC, NY, USA and Brian Metcalf, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Bonjour Jean-Jacques (Mat Servant & Pierre Rose), Location: Paris, France, Barnie Page, London, UK, Michael Manning, NY, US, Antoine Aillot, Paris, France, Marcel Kaczmarek, Warsaw, Poland and Jeremiah Johnson, NY, US. See more;
Describe the project itself please.
As the site says, we are exploring the boundaries of the phone to create graphic illustrations and designs. For now, we are experimenting using only the phone as a way to see if it is a valuable design tool. All the contributors on Phone Arts have some background in both graphic design and media design. There are typical tools used for these professions and the phone is not one of them.
How did the project start?
The project started when I (Daniel) started posting my compositions on my Flickr page. I was a contact of Guillaume on Flickr and he noticed one of my images (This one here) was created in an application (DoodleBuddy). Guillaume said that he had been doing the very same thing on his phone. An idea was hatched and Phone Arts and phone arts was soon created. It was more interesting to have a collaborative blog than posting images on Flickr. We took it one step further and started inviting other artists to join the group. Since then, Phone Arts has had a strong following. It helps having such a great group of talented artists!
How does it work?
Phone Arts is a really great group. We collaborate constantly online in chats and messages. Its really the only way to stay in contact as we all live far apart. We, for the most part, post at our own pace. We have plans of deciding weekly themes for the posts to add a more coherent flow to the art being posted. But for now, we are having fun with the project. We allow submissions via email. We had a submit link on our page but too many people were submitting things so we shut it down. It is great getting submissions but also very time consuming sifting through all the submissions to find interesting pieces that fit the Phone Arts concept.
The concept is to explore tools not used. We focused on the phone first as its the most readily available device that offers, however limited, applications that would help one to visualize their concepts. The idea is to see what the phone has to offer as a design tool and how far we can take the limitations of using the phone as a medium. It is a fun and ongoing experiment that we are all very happy with.
You say in your site you only use iPhone & iPad, is there any specific reason for?
We didn't choose iPhone as the only media, but actually every person on Phone Arts is working with it. Actually there are no iPad productions, we stay with the phone idea. You can do a lot of amazing things with tablets, the applications are more developed, the pictures are bigger, the resolution is better, etc. But The tablet world is different, you don't use it like a phone. The tablet doesn’t need to be checked every 10 minutes like a phone, because of the size of it and because, it is not a phone! So the phone concept brings more spontaneity simply by the way we use it. By "phone" i mean every smartphone you can create pictures with.
It does mean apple accept more apps like those which you are using?
The artwork so far has been specific to the iPhone. This is because the availability of art applications. The iTunes App Store is a great resource. While other devices offer similar mobile application stores, iTunes has the lead in that department. But there is a lot of drawing apps, photo apps, etc. every app which with you can edit or create picture is interesting for us.
Which kind of apps do you use for painting?
As for apps we typically use painting apps with layers. Brushes is a good one as is Adobe Ideas. Its hard to say what apps we use because we use so many. We all have our own set of apps because, as it turns out, finding an app that you are comfortable with using is a very personal thing. Personal as in, it works for you, you work well with the interface. For example: I might love Brushes but Guillaume prefer filters. Its never the same for any of the artists. We all use our own set of apps. And it all took us many hours (and dollars) to find out which app works best. Many times, each composition is a combination of many different apps, for example, my last 3 pictures (Guillaume Hugonl) were made with 3 different apps. But sometimes, only one is enough.
Are you going to print the pieces or exhibiting them in another way?
We actually are talking about an exhibition but we don't really have a place to do it now. We are from different countries (United States, France, England, etc.) and i hope we can get a place somewhere soon ! I think actually the pictures we are making are not destined to be printed. This is RGB stuff and it would be great to keep it that way. But we are not closed to the printing, The Air print technology is here now and we should probably use it. We will see.
How is the experience about drawing on phones?
The experience is really interesting, good and spontaneous. Moreover this is a new way to draw. Drawing on a glass like the phone surface is the first time you can draw on a very flat surface and feel painting sensations. Artists who use their fingers to paint are directly connected with the matter by touching. It is different here, but there is connections and feelings too.
Could you mention some differences than painting using computers?
It is really different than computer drawings because you don't need a tool like the mouse or the bamboo tablet, trackball, etc. You are directly drawing with your hand ! The man was designing a lot of tools in the history for drawing and writing, and here, at the top of the technology evolution, we finally go back to the hand. It is really amazing to see that.
The project is relatively young, but, have you ever thought about creating your own painting tool application?
It would be fantastic to take what we've learned about which apps have the best settings and compile them all in a Phone Arts iPhone app. We have thought of that, but at the moment, we are all very busy with various projects. Building an app has been a topic of discussion among the group. It will be visited for sure. We also have some other plans to bring Phone Arts art works into the physical world. But that is in the works.