Our identities are majorly defined by our memories, and how they influenced the trajectories and events in our lives.
It is for this reason that memory preservation, preferably in a physical format, such as a photograph or an image is important in helping – or reminding – us about our unique identities, along with the identities of our loved ones and those who have shared some of our experiences with us – including pets. Towards this effort, science has lent a helping hand.
The scientific revolution has impacted human lives, and transformed our history in an irreversible manner; and at the personal level, it has allowed everyone – not only the nobility of the past – to preserve their memories for generations.
Relatedly, the advent of photography has allowed for static capture (unlike video which records) of live events, including weddings, graduations, and birthdays, together with the vivid emotions of the people participating in these events, including their facial expressions.
During the pre-renaissance period, memorable meetings, personal successes, and even anthropological aesthetics, like beauty and youngness, were memorized into oral tales that were – almost exclusively – exaggerated or were captured in unrealistic paintings that lacked vividness and life-like realism.
This gave rise to legends and fables, some of which unfortunately drove our collective memory into intellectual stagnation, illiberalism, and rancidity of artistic expression, with the accompanying sacralization of legends leading to mass acceptance and normalization of magical thinking.
Subsequently, artistry failed to capture human emotions, and this impacted creativity. Nonetheless, this delinkage of art from an accurate representation of real-life events did have a tangential advantage during the age of enlightenment as it led to the development of romanticism as artists tried their best to elevate art to rival science in respectability.
Memorization, Art, and Paintings – Now Art defines Us
Romanticism allowed artists to experiment with different art styles with the goal being to accurately capture human experience and expressions in a format that can outlive the subjects.
Later on, this was best achieved with photography. This is because most photographs are taken so as to preserve memorable events.
Still, photographs are representations of optics through the use of mechanical equipment (the camera), and thus, they lack the artistic touch and human feel. Fortunately, this can be rectified by using the photograph as the subject for a painting.
What about memorization? What if memorization can be turned into an art piece, or be blended with art so at to transfer it from the abstract realm into the domain of tangible aesthetics that allows pleasant memories to be viewed by others?
Capturing memory into art can be a complex task, and is a challenge best appreciated by artists. If photographs allow for static capture of memorable events, then artists can use these photographs to create unique art that allows artistic principles to enforce memorization.
PaintYourLife is dedicated to doing this.
In our recent review of the service, we concluded that Paint Your Life is one of the best ways of turning your photographs into artwork. Here’s another look at what we thought.
Photorealism and Hyperrealism
The two art philosophies that have been adopted by PaintYourLife are photorealism and hyperrealism, which are explained below. Adoption of these artistic principles offers unique artistic and non-artistic benefits to both the painter and customer.
Most importantly, PaintYourLife builds on the knowledge and expertise of the pioneers of photorealism, as well as leverages the skillset and professionalism of its diverse team of painters in order to deliver unique, detailed, and aesthetically-unique paintings whose artistic value and vividness approximate photo-quality images.
Photorealism and hyperrealism are related art movements that developed in the mid-to-late 20th century as an artistic blend that benefitted from professional photography and realism/naturalism.
Realism developed from the philosophical movement of naturalism, and it favored accurate representation and portrayal of people and events including the related unpleasant and sordid real-life aspects of the subject while rejecting the drama and exaggerated emotionalism of romanticism.
As expected, realist paintings focused on subjects to which the painter is familiar as this allowed him/her to paint from memory.
Alternately, the painter painted a subject which (s)he observed, and this limited the range of subjects as one could only paint objects which were within the locale where (s)he was staying.
Fortuitously, the advent of photography allowed painters to receive details of subjects located far way, and then use these details to reproduce these objects in an art form. This is the basis of photorealism.
Historically, photorealism developed from pop-art; while philosophically, it developed from realism. This means that it combined principles of pop-art and realism into a novel art genre.
At the center of this blending of different art, genres were the photograph which allowed the painter to obtain information that was to be reproduced in graphic media such as a painting or drawing.
The painter who uses this art philosophy is called a photorealist, and (s)he must be able to transfer the information obtained from the photograph onto the canvas using a mechanical or semi-mechanical means, and thereafter use his/her talent and experience to make the finished art piece appear photographic.
This means that the change and movements that have been frozen in time in the photo must be accurately represented in the painting.
Furthermore, it ensures that the font and proportional size of the text in the photograph are preserved in the art piece, which is a unique feat as most painters tend to lose the font and size of the text when scaling a painting from the photograph.
This is more so, if the photographed person is wearing a custom-printed garment, such as a T-shirt with his/her name.
If one cannot differentiate the final art piece from the original photograph because of its preciseness and emphasis on imagery, then the art piece has transcended the domain of photorealism and entered the domain of hyperrealism.
There are different styles used in photorealism, and it is up to the painter to choose the style that best suits him/her, and that can achieve the desired aesthetic effect and artistic value.
The benefits of turning your photos into art
Even so, why not scale a photograph instead of paying a photorealist to create a large-scale copy of the photograph? The answer is that the adoption of photorealism affords two unique advantages to the use of paintings over photographs. These are scalability and lifespan.
Scalability relates to the size of the image, and most photographs are limited to a maximum of size A4 photopaper, while paintings can be sized to fit the available frame, including wall-sized frames.
Also, unlike photographs whose clarity is limited by pixel density, which also impacts the maximum photo size (for example, 1080p photos retain their crystal-clear clarity up-to size A4 photographs), the clarity of paintings can be matched to the size of their canvases.
Another related benefit offered by photorealism is that a small-sized photograph does not need to be converted into a vector image so as to be scaled up, and it only needs to be used as the object with the painting scaled up to fit the needs of the client, including size needs.
Moreover, new details can be added to the image, such as color contrast, reflections, and texts.
Photographs have one unique disadvantage – their existence is limited to how long their photopapers can last without rotting away, which occurs much quicker in a humid environment as compared to dry environments.
Additionally, biological agents such as rodents and animals can chew poorly-guarded or unsecured photographs, while micro-organisms can catalyze the organic breakdown of the photopaper through the process of biodegradation which leads to decay and decomposition of the photographs.
Therefore, paper photographs have a short lifespan as compared to canvas paintings. Still, the lifespan of paintings is also determined by the canvas material, with synthetic canvases usually lasting longer than non-synthetic canvases. Evidently, it is better to preserve the memory on a canvas rather than on a photopaper.
Usually, for canvases made from organic fabrics such as khaki and linen, their lifespan is limited by how long the fibers can retain their viability without suffering biodegradation.
Still, biodegradation can be slowed down by placing the fabric in an enclosed environment that prevents biological agents, including insects such as moths, from coming into direct contact with the painting.
This can be achieved by placing the painting inside a vacuumed glass cage, while people who need low-cost alternatives can seek practical alternatives, such as laminating the canvas between glass or acrylic sheets.
There are different types of canvases that can be broadly divided into synthetic, semi-synthetic, and organic canvases.
The lifespans of these canvases depend on their processing and fiber types with the non-biodegradable synthetic fabric having a longer lifespan than semi-synthetic fabrics, which in turn have a longer lifetime than organic fabrics.