Art meets science, and there’s no time to watch paint dry

Participants: EVL faculty, staff, and students

by Paul Francuch

December 1, 2010 - Andy Johnson, an associate professor in the UIC Computer Science department (CS) and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL), explains that the CS program emphasizes “human-centered computing” - getting people to interact with computers in novel ways.

While EVL’s Cyber-Commons classroom is used for long-distance scientific collaboration via broadband links, it is also used to test new visual technology for classroom use. When a touch screen was added this past summer, it became apparent that the wall of 18 tiled screens could be used as an artist’s canvas, and real paint brushes could be used to paint. “It’s taking advantage of modern tools to give people a new twist on a very old way of doing artwork.” As Johnson goes on to explain, “…you grab the brush, hit the wall and you’re painting.”

Undergraduate and graduate students from computer science and new media arts were involved in developing the paint application. JD Pirtle, an MFA student, would like to extend the application “to simulate water colors, oils, or spray painting.” Arthur Nishimoto, an MS student, would like to give each artist his / her own palette to personalize each individual’s artistic contribution.

“Our students are the ones investigating and creating this, finding the limitations and figuring out how to fix it,” Johnson says. “It’s connecting a lot of disciplines together, but if you do it right, you end up with something that seems incredibly simple and really straightforward.”

Read the complete article on UIC News


Date: December 1, 2010
Painting on the 20-foot canvas: left to right, T. Silvia, K. Chakrapani, J.D. Pirtle & P. Pilosi. - Roberta Dupuis-Devlin, UIC

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