Technology and The End of Starving Artists

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I am what some consider a techno-optimist. I think of technology as an ultimately good force in the universe. While others shriek in fear at the thought of drones buzzing overhead and lecture others for ignoring the world around them in favor of the computers in their laps, in their pockets, and on their faces I’m browsing online tech forums and grinning ear-to-ear every time something new gets unveiled during a developers conference. Not only can I see technologies potential to cure disease and rid us of our fossil fuel dependency I also see technology as bread for starving artists. With the help of gizmos and gadgets these cartoonists, film makers, and musicians have mastered their craft and shared it the world over.

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Scott Adams’ name has recently been popping up with some frequency lately due to his blog posts about Republican Frontrunner Donald (Don’t vote for him) Trump and the controversial candidate’s persuasive hypnotism which you can read about here. If you have zero interest in politics you are likely still aware of Adams as the man behind the popular work-place-comic-strip, Dilbert. Adams began his career as an illustrator the same way that many syndicated cartoonists do. On paper. Adams used to start his first drafts with pencil, then go over it with pen, then shade it with “a sort of decal you could buy at high end art stores.” Afterwords he would mail off his work to his syndication and wait for it to be published. Yuck! In recent years Adams has ditched that tedious and time consuming process and gone paperless with the help of some new technology. Adams now relies on his trusty Wacom Cintiq 21ux, and photoshop. Adams compares the Wacom tablet to paper in the same way one would compare a car to a horse. In this video you can see Adams dragging pre-drawn images into place, flipping them to face the other direction, and scaling them up-processes I imagine take hours. For Adams the Wacom helps the creative process by not getting in the way of it.

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Casey Neistat is one of YouTube’s most recognizable vloggers. Any time somebody mentions vlogging to me I immediately imagine Casey’s white accented sunglasses staring back at me from my computer screen. Casey makes viral videos of all shapes and sizes. From his video Bike Lanes that gained him a lot of initial attention on the internet to doing advertisements for Nike and crazily Snowboarding in New York City streets. Casey is a pro. Even though he would be the first to tell you that you do not need expensive professional gear to make great videos he has some go-to-gadgets that have helped him garner over Two-million subscribers. First and foremost is Casey’s unique DSLR setup consisting of; a Canon EOS 70D, a Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens, a Rode VideoMic Pro, and a Joby Gorilla Pod. Aside from that anti-selfiestick whatchamacallit Casey is not opposed to using simple point-and-shoots, his iPhone, or emerging 360 degree camera rigs. Finally, Casey does all of that while zooming by on his electronic skateboard, the Boosted Board.

Glitch Mob is a three piece electronic music group who’s members include; edIT, Boreta, and Ooah. These guys are my go-to any time I need some music to get me in a productive mood. With albums like Drink The Sea and Love Death Immortality (you can view their full discography here) I have plenty of music to power me through whatever is on my task list. Even though the entire electronic music genre relies on technology The Mob’s gear is something special. They call it the blade. When I reached out to Boreta and asked him to describe it on one sentence he said this-

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Even though you can get a deeper look at the blade here and here I’ll do my best to describe it. The blade is a beautiful cluster-fuck of tech, wires, and instruments who’s engine is affectionately referred to as Lil Kim. The blade’s tech consists of two Mac Pro audio computers running Ableton Live , two Mac Minis for control data onstage, a few universal audio interfaces, and several iPads running Liine Lemur. Needless to say, this thing is an absolute beast-and it helps The Mob to put on some insane shows.

So the next time the media sends you into a panic over the potential threat of rising technology consider the good that can come of it instead. Who knows, maybe technology is being developed right now that could improve your career or highlight the talent of your children. Focus less on the technology that scares you and consider how much technology has already improved the lives of millions and will continue to improve all of our lives for a long time to come.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
-Arthure C. Clarke

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