Free as the Wind

The Daily Create, as part of the digital storytelling course ds106, encourages ‘you to challenge yourself to create something new each day’. These mini-assignments are meant to only take minutes rather than hours to complete, but sometimes the thought processes about the activities and the writing up of the tasks at least can go on for several hours – as in yesterday’s ‘Create a Word Painting’ drawing TDC. This task is actually still in process as I begin writing this post, but will be finished by the end. I first saw the challenge this morning before 9am and it is now 8pm. I have chosen an image, but not the word to go with it. So the ‘art work’ is still to be made, but it has been conceived, conceptualised. It just needs a word – but which word?

I don’t think that this daily create is going to involve any analogue drawing. A painting, yes, but no actual painting. I will put some electronic text over the image to make a new, combined word and image. But first, the image:

free as the wind

Free as the Wind

As soon as I followed the link to Wayne White’s Word Paintings and discovered that Wayne White adds typography to decorative art prints, the print of Free as the Wind (above) immediately came to mind as an image to which I could do something similar. Wayne White buys these cheap scenic prints to use as backgrounds for his sculptural additions of shapes and 3D words and phrases. I don’t always get the connection between the added words/phrases and the print, but this one could be seen as an in joke about art:

Failed Abstract Paintings of the Seventies (Wayne White)

Mass-produced prints of original paintings were popular as decorative wall art in many homes from the 1950s onward. Some, such as The Crying Boy, come with their own urban legends.

I took the photograph of the Free as the Wind print (ticket price £15) on Saturday at a second-hand shop – a place in the UK we would call an ‘Antiques Centre’ – a large space full of old and used stuff, vintage and retro more than antique. Such places can be amusing to wander around and take photographs. And there my relationship with this image might have ended except for the call of TDC1113. While trying to think of an amusing or incisive word or phrase to add to the print for the task, I tried to find out more about the print itself. There is not much information available online. The print probably dates from the 1960s and the original painting is by August Albo, an Estonian who hauled up in NYC. Free as the Wind is regarded as being his most famous mass-produced work.

Depending on how it is photographed or copied or printed, or perhaps faded by windowlight, it can look quite different:

So back to the creative process – what word(s) to add? Since this is a little known artist whose work has been widely reproduced and presumably enjoyed by the many people that put it on their wall, I had an impulse to just place his surname in large capitals – ALBO – across the print. And then I thought about the word ‘ABORIGINAL’ as in first or indigenous people, and then the punning addition of an ‘L’ to create A L BORIGINAL as a conflation of ALBO ORIGINAL proved to be an irresistably neat solution. The creator of the (original) work, the work mass-produced, for the masses, humans, who came after the horses who used to run Free as the Wind before the people came along and longed for freedom.

alboriginal

Alboriginal

So I copied the print into PowerPoint and fiddled about with the text awhile using the ‘WordArt’ tool – simple Calibri font and a light blue colour to echo the sky. A fitting tribute to the ‘unknown painter’.

 

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6 Responses to Free as the Wind

  1. Wow! A lot of thought and directions that became focused. Nice modeling for how to write up a good post as well. Thanks.

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  2. Pingback: Closing the curtains on Unit 5 | ds106 for TECH2002_15

  3. Sue Figoni says:

    We have the print of “Free as the Wind” What is the value of this print? My father left it to me. I am curious about it.

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    • andrewclay says:

      When I saw it for sale, it was £15 or about $20. It is a mass print, I suspect there are a lot of copies around, but vintage things like this are quite trendy at the moment.

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  4. Amanda says:

    I think it is wrong to add anything to this painting or to do anything with it!! I’m a horse person I own a small horse ranch . My mother had this painting hanging in our house all my life and I’m 40 years old now!!! I think the painting is majestic and it captures the essence of horses beautifully!!!

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  5. Doris Haines says:

    My daughter’s husband, had the print in his bed room since the early 60’s, after they married in 1991, his sister took the print to her home, so, now, over 20 years later my daughter finally found the artist and was able to get a poster print, how marvelous the original painting must be,as the print is so beautiful!

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