iPad2 – nerdy thoughts today for a better tomorrow


Last year around this time I wrote about the new iPad and how it would be great as a creative tool. I decided to wait until Apple got a few of the kinks out and straightened out the edges, so to speak. Behold, iPad 2. With the touch of a finger or a third party stylus, the iPad can function as both a quick, on the spot sketchbook and a way to test out different colour combinations on the fly. With a built in camera I can snap a photo of a piece I’m working on and quickly throw in different colours. This saves me from doing little colour sketches. Plus I can save my colour swatches for future reference.

Awesome.

So I was thinking about Apple and love the company or hate it you’ve got to admit they’ve revolutionized the way we look at technology. Steve Jobs always talks about how it has to be more than just the specs, but how the tech meets the liberal arts, the humanities.

Because of his vision, he is almost singlehandedly moving the world into what he calls the “Post-PC” era. As an artist, I am very drawn to Apple for my tech stuff and I’m grateful for the aesthetics, the ease and intuitive User Interface, and the streamlined way I can work, write, and communicate.

It got me to thinking about what the world would be like without Apple, how further behind we might be. There are exciting times ahead, and with the advent of user-friendly content creation, FaceTime and Cloud storage (putting your files in the internet instead of on a hard drive), there is the opportunity to be well-informed, take action, and come closer together as a human race.

Suddenly my Mom’s hippy generation has seen the corporate world catch up to their vision. At a price, of course, so we’re not completely there.

But here’s the thing. A world without Apple, and specifically Steve Jobs (who was also CEO of PIXAR, turning into the company it became), would mean that there would be none of this streamlined creativity going on. At least not on such a large scale.

Now, understandably, with it’s “closed system” there is less customization possible, and iTunes locks people into one way of purchasing music, movies, books, etc. But there are always alternatives out there.

And alternatives is what this whole article is about.

If we lived in the Apple-less world, we’d be just fine. I for one am glad for the reality we have but then…what if…?

What if there is an even more innovative way to look at art, human experience and tech that we are just not seeing? What if there is an explosive and dynamic vision that no one is taking the time to dream up? If tech+liberal arts=apple, well, aren’t here other intersections that could be even more compelling?

What if artists, musicians, writers came together with programmers, hardware creators and industrial designers. Then this group hooked up with humanitarians, volunteers, and healers?

What I’m saying is that there are even more visionary possibilities out there. All it takes is someone with the drive and capability to bring it together. All it takes is for someone to look at our awesome little boxes, portable or not and ask:

What’s next?

What can we do with all this human ingenuity and passion? Are there any limits to beauty we can make?

Are there any limits to the healing we can bring to the planet and to each other?

Perhaps it seems silly to ask these questions with technology as the nucleus but I don’t think so.

Technology equals telepathy.

With technology we read each other’s thoughts. Right now you are reading mine. If you comment, I will then know yours in turn, and so on.

From cave paintings, to hieroglyphs to pixels on a screen. From grunts to speech to song. From gestures to acting to dancing. We have evolved our communication. We have been striving for millenia to understand each other.

And to be understood.

When we have the technology to make ourselves known and to know others, we have reached a place where we can talk instead of fight. Instead of being scared, hurt or offended, we can simply ask: what do you mean? What was your intent? Why?

We can find the places where we connect, and through our interactions come away changed.

And it can be fun!

Apple has made computers fun. Facebook has made keeping in touch an absolute addiction. When it comes to communicating, where do we go next? What’s the third heat?

I like to imagine there is someone out there who has a seed that is growing, an idea, a spark that is being carefully nurtured and they are on the cusp of creating something truly game changing.

Then again, maybe that’s all of us. Maybe in these days of war and environmental and economic concern, when people are raising their voices and demanding freedom from repression, maybe it’s no one person. Maybe it’s all of us.

Is there a beautiful and righteous wind at our backs? Have we come these crossroads in human history, ready to make the world a paradise?

Why not?

Let’s do it.

And let’s do it now.

Love, laugh, and give.

Give yourself to life, and let life give back. Stand up for your brothers and sisters, and ask them to stand up for you. Let go of the shackles of expectations, traditions, and old beliefs that make us hate or be angry, or worse: afraid.

There’s an amazing future just around the corner and it doesn’t want to be a far-off land, it wants us to live it today. Well, I see by the clock it’s already 5:45pm MST, so…maybe we do it tomorrow.

But one of these days has just got to be THE day.

And if a little company in Cupertino can make an iPad out of materials that already exist, why can’t we make this a better world, a World 2.0, with all the amazing souls that are already here?

Well, I think we can.

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iPad could definitely be better (the artist gets techy)

As an artist I use whatever tools I can get my hands on to make the process of creating my work as intuitive and simple as possible. The less I have to worry about the better as far as getting thought to reality is concerned.

That’s why I was really looking forward to the new Apple iPad.

I was imagining a device that would cut down on the clutter I would carry with me on regular day to day excursions. While it might be able to do that in some small ways, i suppose I was guilty of imagining something more.

Primarily what I’m talking about is drawing.

I was hoping for an included stylus and a nicely developed draw/paint program (app, as the kids say) that would allow me to have an eternally ready sketch pad that would never run out of paper and a pencil that would never run out of lead. A font of creative possibility!

The other imagined benefit would be that I could work out the colour schemes for my paintings on the iPad as well, moving things around intuitively, quickly and easily until I found just the right composition. Then it’s off to the painting!

The other thing I would have hoped for was a built in camera that would allow me to capture a fabric, a leaf, the way light was hitting a face – whatever I saw that could inspire me – right on the fly, to examine and study later when I had the time.

And lastly, a simple, easy way for me to record my process so that I could share it with others digitally online, or give to schools after a workshop.

I know that with a big bundle of electronics and old fashioned tools I could accomplish something close to all this, so it’s not like I am stuck on an island with only sand and coconuts to work with, but it would have been nice.

The technology is there and I really thought Apple would’ve put it all together.

Second Gen iPad, maybe?

Maybe.

In the meantime, I will still lovingly use my trusty pencil and paper sketchpad.

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On to other news:

I saw AVATAR!

Pretty astounded with the 3D. I kind of felt like I was in a living dream the entire time, the actors were right there, almost s real as flesh and blood (or a least as real as they’ll ever get without meeting them). I took my parents who never go out to the movies and was really delighted by their response during the film. It was like seeing them as they were when they were kids. While I really enjoyed the movies, I think watching my Mom and Dad was the best part.

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I’ve been pretty busy making school visits, speaking at conferences, and just generally sharing what I’ve gleaned after twenty years of art making. It’s extremely fulfilling and gets me out into the world and out of the studio, which let me tell you is pretty nice.

Next up is the Spirit Seekers Youth Conference in Grande Prairie and I have to say the team that puts that together is amazing. They’re professional, warm and really care about what they’re doing. I’m honored to be a part of their efforts. Thanks Delaine!

Keynote speakers will be Linsay Willier and James Jones of Canada’s Next Top Model and So You Think You Can Dance: Canada fame respectively. They’ve teamed up to create a Motivational Speaking enterprise so I’m really looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

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My good friend Ian Walker is currently developing my new website which will be aaronpaquette.com and that will be up sometime before spring. It will have everything I do in one place and when it goes up I’ll have a lot of neat things to share. Really excited about it.

And if you like the site when it goes up, let me know! I’ll forward you to Ian and he can customize something for you.

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Just a quick heads up: I have a show scheduled to start May 15, 2010 at the Bearclaw Gallery that I think many of you will really enjoy. Many, many new works are coming up!

I’ll have some information about a couple other galleries I’m talking with soon, and in the meantime, visit the Bearclaw and the Willock and Sax Gallery. There is always amazing art from a variety of diverse artists at both places. I’m always impressed when I take a visit.