"Surveillance" by William Betts


Last Seen (2006) by William Betts

William Betts is like the modern day Seurat - In his "Surveillance" series, he makes paintings from digital photographs using his own specially-designed machine to apply dots of acrylics onto canvas. The result is a grainy image akin to the blurry still images of a surveillance CCTV: Link - via The Zeray Gazette


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William Betts creates wonderful work an dis a successful artist, not to mention a great guy.

The people making snarky comments about pcs and printers obviously don't know how to google. If they did 2 min. of research, they'd learn that Betts built the "painting machine" and created the software for it. He also hand blends every color of paint and fills the machine with each separately.

Interesting that some still think that using a printer/Photoshop/anything other then spit and canvas is "not art". People really need to wake up and smell the 21st century. Do you expect accountants to do their figures by hand? Would you be ok if the IRS took years to process your tax return becuase they can't "cheat" by using computers? Do you use a cell phone instead of a rotary land line phone?
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I like the concept, which is often times the hard part for me, but clicking print on a printer/machine isn't quite the same as actually painting it. Definitely reminds me of Seurat, in regards to the pointilism, but thats about it.

Honestly, not knocking the guy, but I think it'd take me about 15 minutes to make one of these in Photoshop, and print it on canvas at the size he makes them. But, kudos to him to finding his niche, (still working on finding mine.)

at ntm: agreed
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That's right. I was forgetting that artists don't actually have to make art these days. They just have to be idea men and someone else or a machine can do the work.

Call me a visionary, but I think the future of art is not only to avoid wasting time producing the artwork by hand. Of course, a machine or assistant can do that for you. But true genius would be to have another person come up with the idea as well. Artists of the future will only need to groom their mustaches and have pretentious conversations in coffee shops. As long as their persona is esoteric enough, they deserve vast accolades. Definitely lots of direct comparisons with previous masters.

Apologies for the cynicism, but as an artist myself, I have a hard time seeing how we're saying much different by comparing Betts (who has a provocative and interesting idea) with an artist who had an interesting idea and then put as much legwork and hard-earned representational skill to task creating it as Seurat did.

Not knocking Betts, but the two are apples and oranges.
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There was a show of his here in Vancouver in a small local gallery not too long ago. The paintings really do need to be seen in person. The web photos do not do the works justice.

Many artists (modern and classic) don't make their own work. They come up with the ideas and have others make the art for them. So Betts is not unusual in having this machine do the paintings. Just because he is working this way does not mean he is any less trained than any other artist. And as I said, in person the paintings are quite striking.
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