Art Vent

Letting the Fresh Air In

Brushes goes legit

May 26, 2009 - 8:13pm -- Carol Diehl
I have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. On the one hand it’s like the limb I never knew I'd been missing, but when it breaks down…well, it’s only broken down once in the eight months or so I’ve had it, but having gone through three or four iPods on one warranty, I’m not optimistic. So last Thursday I was in Grand Central Station withdrawing money from the brand-new Chase ATMs (they’re supposed to be touch-sensitive but you have to stab at each choice at least ten times—designed to sense frustration levels rather than fingertip heat, they only work when you’re ready to smash the screen) and it dispensed $100 when I’d clearly pressed the $200 indicator (never, never will I withdraw money again without getting—and keeping—the receipt). I tried immediately to call the number on the wall, but my iPhone said “No Service.” I walked outside, and still “No Service.” I tried a pay phone on the street (they still have them) but the Chase rep couldn’t hear me. When, an hour later, I finally got through on my land line, I found out that Chase had—whew!—only deducted $100. But then I had to go to the Apple Store for two hours, go get my computer and bring it back for another two hours, after which I had a brand new iPhone with all my data intact...except the apps. Once you’ve purchased an app you can download it again for free, but any un-backed-up app data will be lost.

Lost! It was a crushing moment because then and only then did I realize that my true métier isn’t actual but virtual painting with the iPhone app called Brushes, and the masterpieces I’d made with it were gone forever. I love my Brushes “paintings”—really paintings over photos, just like Gerhard Richter—but have had to reluctantly acknowledge that yet again, the thing I do best has no material application. I thought they’d make great Iris prints, so emailed them off to a friend who has a gallery and does such things, but she was not impressed. That may change, however, and Brushes may yet become respectable, because it turns out that this week’s New Yorker cover by Jorge Columbo was done on an iPhone with Brushes. You can see it here, with a step-by-step video of how he drew it (makes it look easier, though, because it doesn’t include the “undos”)

Here are two of mine, which I was smart enough to save:


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