Excellent examples of what the iPhone is capable of are found in the impressionistic works of artist Jorge Colombo. He created his New York City-inspired cityscapes (guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/mar/16/art-iphone-shortcuts) using his iPhone and an app called Brushes ($4.99). This app provides you with a set of digital painting tools and requires some skill to use effectively. Fortunately, apps like ArtCamera ($0.99) make it easier to create this type of digital painting based on a photo you’ve taken or an image you’ve imported. ArtCamera lets you apply one of 33 different filters to a photo, allowing you to mimic the style of great masters, turn color photos into black & white, create old-style photos, and more. A free “LITE” version of the program offers 14 filters and more limited choices for size formatting of the final work.
What makes these apps so important in the arts is their ability to let you pause wherever you are, experience the moment for what it is, and then create an image that captures that feeling.
I’m also mixing art, language, and a lived philosophy with iWallflower, a free app that lets you share your drawings, doodles, etc. with iPhone users around the world. After it’s installed, launch the app and drawings from iPhone users around the world start scrolling past you.
Tap on the crayon icon at the bottom of the screen to create and submit your own art. Sometimes the drawings you see are silly, but others are quite profound. The overall experience is of a collaborative, living art, exemplifying the American philosopher John Dewey’s belief that every person is capable of “living an artful life” of social interactions.
Digital scholarship and the future of the humanities
In its 2006 report “Our Cultural Commonwealth,” the American Council of Learned Societies found that “digital scholarship is the inevitable future of the humanities and social sciences, and digital literacy is a matter of national competitiveness and a mission that needs to be embraced.”
The iPhone is certainly a part of that inevitable future. Its success is based not only on its simplicity of form and function, but its integration with human behavior.
All in all, it’s a very effectual tool for communicating and expressing our ideas.
- Steve Sprang
- $0.99; $1.99 On sale; LITE version FREE
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