artist of the week: modern history is made from youtube
Posted by Steve Woolf

Artist Josh Poehlein is working on a series of photo collages called Modern History. Interestingly, they are made exclusively of screen grabs from YouTube videos. They are big, bold, and raw. And best of all, he is offering free links to download hi-res versions of the images, which can be used to make large prints of the work.

He writes on his site:

I am offering large files for personal printing at no cost. Computer files are the most easily reproducible information on the planet. In this particular case I see no reason to imbue a false sense of preciousness on the work. The information I gathered to create the collages is publicly availaibe, and the collages themselves are no different.

It's great to see an artist allowing his work to freely circulate across the web this way, which is only fitting since he drew his source material that way. Hopefully his work can inspire others to share, reinvent, and give away, which is such an important part of the creative process.

It would be great to see these in real life, printed on enormous canvases. I'm a big fan of not hiding the pixels in digital artwork, and the texture in these reveals a nice variation in the size and distribution of the really pixelated parts. Plus, there's a really subversive humor to everything, which is a subtle commentary on the kind of stuff you find all over YouTube and what it means to our everyday lives.

Of the 5 pieces that are up on his site as of this writing, the first three seem to be a lot stronger than the last two. But treated like an experiment, it's great stuff. I checked his blog to see if there is anything about the process he goes through to create these pieces, but I didn't find anything through some cursory searching and browsing. I'd love to see the process -- how he selects the subjects and chooses the videos -- and it would be really cool if he was able to track the frames he uses and offer links to the creators. That would really complete the circle of creation and make for an epic example of web remix art.