modern primitive




My work process is not based on any other creative process that I am aware of.

Although I use a computer to create my images, I am not using the computer to mimic or replicate the textures, colors or techniques of conventional media and I am not using it to create collages. To my knowledge those are the 2 main examples of the use of the computer in fine art. My creative process embodies chaos theory, abstract expressionism, chance encounters, improvisation, to some extent the concept of fractals and my predilection for certain types of imagery.

I paint abstract images using light and shadow.

My technique is derived from approximately 15 years of working with Photoshop. After over a thousand hours of working with the program I am intimately aware of what the various tools and filters will do to an image. This allows me to try many more experiments with light and shadow than I would be able to do if I worked in any other way. Some of my techniques are based on my experimentation with using the tools and filters in ways that they were not designed to be used. I make use of this knowledge by using the computer to make large scale changes to images in a very short time, usually by completely destroying the original image and producing an embryonic "seed" image.

I start with some image I like or that I feel has potential (mainly macro photos I have taken). I then use the computer to distress and manipulate the tonal ranges of this image to create the "seed" image mentioned above. I have a number of techniques I use for this distress stage but by and large I perforate the tonal transitions, displacing the edges and increasing the contrast. I then clone the image and distend the tonal transitions further. I often create a number of clones each with subtle (but sometimes major) differences in their tonal and spatial characteristics. I begin to superimpose these pseudo-isomorphic versions of the image one on top of the other. These superimpositions are then manipulated anywhere from 20 to hundreds of times. Slowly (as if welling up from a deep well) an interesting image will (may) coalesce, sometimes fully formed, often in a vague but tantalizing way. These initial images are then cloned and the superimposition process begins again.

At all times in the process I leave myself open to relationships and or coincidental affinities that may appear as the image flies through the transformations.

Many of the images on this site have been through 100-700 transitions, often over multiple days.

the art of michael heth
limited edition digital prints