When I created an introduction for my video conversation with Jeremiah Owyang, I used a hot rod theme, because I am a 50’s, hot rod kind of guy. I liked the look of some photos from the strobist and a laptop group on flickr, and came up with my laptop picture. I then Photoshopped all the hot rod stickers on it to complete the look.
On this photo, I received the following comment from brzy40_2000:
Very cool. I must mention that the devil & wrenches is The Coop’s artwork. He’s a great artist as well as a kick ass photographer who shares his photos here on Flickr.
I am a huge fan of Coop, and the art he creates. I started to follow his blog POSITIVE APE INDEX, and look at his photo’s on flickr. Warning: Coop’s artwork is adult in nature. Read his Wikipedia entry for a better explanation of his artwork:
Coop (real name Chris Cooper) is a hot rod artist working from Los Angeles. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1968, and describes his occupation as “Insensitive Artiste”. His work consists primarily of barely clothed Bettie Page-style 50s soft pornography and/or B-movie monsters, with the female characters often taking the role of “Devil-Women”. The image most often associated with his work is however slightly more tame; the face of a grinning devil with a smoking cigar clamped in its teeth. His work shows a distinct sense of humor which tends to soften the impact of the subject material, so that often a piece which could have been considered offensive actually becomes rather benign and light-hearted.
I have been following Coop and his work for almost 10 years. I prize the couple of his silkscreen posters that hang in my office, and I can say that I am a definite fan of his art.
Getting to the Point
What does Coop have to do with Web 2.0 and democratizing social interaction? I gave the above information to help you follow the sequence of events.
After brzy40_2000 told me that Coop was on flickr, I started looking at his photos, and reading his blog. He seems like a cool guy, that has fun with his friends. He does cool things with cars and art.
I have lived in the Bay Area, but I never lived in LA, which is where Coop lives. So it is logical to assume that he and I would never meet, and I would not have the chance to interact with him. After following his flickr photos and blog for a while, he posted a picture about an image duplicator he was using for a project. I was curious about the process, so I posted the following:
Sorry to come across as a complete neophyte. You create your artwork in a smaller scale, and then use the image duplicator to blow these up for larger installations, or are you just using this for the halftone project?
Reading your blog, and seeing your pictures on flickr, it is cool to see your projects unfold. Thanks for posting this information.
Coop replied as follows:
Yes, all the preliminary drawings are done at a smaller size, then scanned. The painting is composed in photoshop, then each element is printed out separately, and added to the painting using the opaque projector, sometimes by laying out roughly with pencil, and other times painted directly on the canvas like this.
Democratizing Social Interaction
I would like to think that if Coop and I ever met, we would be able to strike up an interesting conversation. Realistically though, unless there is some kind of art show or car show, it is doubtful we would ever met. We run in different circles, in different locations. But because of tools like blogs, and flickr, I have been able to get a glimpse into his creative process. I have actually had the chance to ask him a question and receive a response.
Web 2.0 services have allowed a fan like me to interact with an artist whose work I admire and enjoy. This could have been a customer interacting with a CEO, or a fan interacting with a sports figure. Web 2.0 services allow us the ability to make inquiries without disturbing those we want to ask questions. I didn’t have to knock on Coop’s studio door, or interrupt him while he was surrounded by people somewhere. I was able to ask him a question, and he was able to answer it in his own time, without it being a distraction.
This is one of the benefits of Web 2.0. The ability to interact and build relationships, with many varied types of people. People you might not normally get the opportunity to interact with. During our conversation Jeremiah echoed this sentiment of using the web to build relationships. I have been fortunate that a great community is being built around my blog, and the blogs I read. These are people that I would probably have never had the chance to meet in the ‘real world,’ but due to blogs and Web 2.0 I have had the chance to meet and interact with, and learn from some great people.
Photo Credit Image Duplicator: Coop