About Barbara Tomlin's Vintage Art Adaptations

Barb Tomlin
Barbara Tomlin

What are art adaptations, anyway? Kathryn Coe, author of The Ancestress Hypothesis: Visual Art as Adaptation, defines art adaptation as "the modification of an object or body through color, line, pattern and form that is done solely to attract attention to that object or body.”

When you visit galleries to see art from centuries past, you will typically find originals that are simply "untouchable". In browsing some of the public domain archives, I discovered a multitude of exceptional designs applied to ordinary things decorated centuries ago. My goal in acquiring those designs was to reproduce them in a sellable contemporary context by adapting them to a variety of media in such a way that they would be touchable by just about anyone who appreciates art and history. As I approach each rendition project, I view the original artwork from every angle, calculating how much of it I can fit in traditional and digital print sizes ranging from 2x3 to 24x36 inches or larger. Then I look for scenes within the original piece worthy of individual focus to adapt to print sizes that will fit specialty products such as mugs, hats, t-shirts, etc. I extract those scenes one by one, adding or deleting objects and changing colors, as the mood strikes. The final rendition is a contemporary piece of affordable art.

For my first adaptation project, I chose to work with digital files of the two and three-dimensional artwork archived by the Library of Congress. The images captured for those digital files include all the tears, oil marks, and other signs of aging evident on the item digitized. So far, I've spent no less than four hours in creating each adaptation.

Thank you for your interest in my vintage art adaptations. I look forward to communicating with you about my artwork further soon. Please feel free to send me email in care of this feedback form.

Barbara Tomlin

Copyright © 2008 Westward Connections Inc. | Albuquerque, NM USA
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