Hi-Tech Art: Three Artists Mine Digital Culture For Inspiration

What do Facebook, Missed Connections and text messages have in common? They all serve as subject matter for three very different artists who all draw inspiration from digital culture.

First up is Matt Held, a painter from Brooklyn. He likes to recreate famous paintings using strangers’ Facebook photos, thus throwing together people who’ll never meet each other from all over the world. (His interpretation of “Feast of Bacchus” has a tattooed man in a Ramones shirts clinking glasses with a man wearing a business-casual button-down shirt and jeans.) Very interesting, I think. But his current project–which he’s been working on since December of 2008–is beyond ambitious. Curious? Check out the Facebook group “I’ll have my Facebook portrait painted by Matt Held”–you’ll be glad you did.

Also from Brooklyn is Sophie Blackall, a children’s book illustrator who’s fascinated by the Missed Connections section on Craigslist. The main source of intrigue for her is the incredibly short lifespan of the posts, which are usually deleted within a week. So she collects the ones she likes and turns them into vintage-inspired watercolor paintings. See her blog on the project here.

On the other side of the world, Tracey Moberly, an artist from London, sees her text inbox as her muse. Her art explores texts as artifacts of our time (she’s saved every one she’s ever received since 1999). The project–called “text me up!”–was exhibited in London and later turned into a book.

–Mo Hickey