For me, “Analogue is the new Digital” has personal and professional resonance. After decades of maintaining separate traditional and digital art-making practices, I have recently begun an inquiry into a new art form that re-contextualizes details from my oil paintings using digital art tools to create a new hybrid analogue-digital collage. My latest series, Letters from my Father, evolves from my continued explorations into fragmented memory. The process begins with digitized versions of my oil portraits of dolls and objects, as well as scanned letters (from my father). I then use InDesign and Photoshop to create digital collages from these source materials, combining and layering elements with blending modes and masks. Although I was excited by this creative direction, I yearned for a way to make each collage unique and tactile, beyond what could be accomplished by simply coloring on top of a print, and I was troubled by the arbitrary nature of determining the size of a limited edition given the limitlessness potential of a digital file. Then, at an SFMOMA Joseph Cornell retrospective I realized that in the same way Cornell was appropriating classical art reproductions into his assemblage works, I could use my own imagery as the source materials for traditional analogue collages. Now, the process of creating works continues by using archival prints (and print fragments) of the digital collages as the source materials which I physically cut and collage. I will often then (also by analogue means) paint or draw on top of the collage with watercolor pencil, pastel, or oil crayon. These unique collages will sometimes become re-digitized for use yet again as source materials for new digital collages and print, creating a circular continuum between printmaking and collage, analogue and digital.
For almost three decades, Sharon Steuer has pioneered the merging of traditional and digital art forms. Steuer’s recent work weaves together her oil paintings, drawings, digital paintings, photographs, and personal artifacts to explore and reflect fragmented memory. Awards for her artwork include the national Faber Birren Color Award, a Windsor Newton Painting award, and a 2006 Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. She is also the author of numerous books and articles on digital art including Creative Thinking in Photoshop, and the best-selling Adobe Illustrator WOW! Book series, which has twice received the Benjamin Franklin award for best computer book. She currently lives and maintains digital and analogue studios in San Francisco.