Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Can You Identify the Original Photo Contents of These Seven Digital Extrusions

When I was growing up in Cleveland and later New Jersey, my mom had a deep fryer and a device that she used to turn potatoes into square shaped extrusions that would be dropped into the hot grease to become French fries. Last night I was able to find a picture of this vintage kitchen device here, a Redware Fry Cutter. This picture here shows a similar device in action.

Essentially it's an extruder. We've all seen extruded metal or extruded plastic before, though we not have thought much about or understood the process that created it.

The word "extrude" means to shape by forcing something through a die. The literal meaning, as a verb, is "to thrust, push or force out." The words appears as one possibility in a whole slew of creative menu options in one of the tabs on Adobe Photoshop®, an illustrator's tool for enhancing or altering photos. Other choices include spatter, emboss, bubble wrap, mosaic, etc.

Now here's where it gets interesting to me. When I was an art student in college 45 years ago I attempted to paint this vision of an extruded reality that I had imagined. That is, in my mind's eye I had performed a sequence of steps that went like this. First, what if you take a snapshot of 3-D reality -- it could be a room, a landscape, a sunrise -- and convert it to two dimensions? It's what cameras do every day, of course. Next, what if you place this image on the flat end of a block of soap or rectangular potato or whatever. Then, for step three you thrust this through an extruder that, voila!, makes unusual splays of color.

My effort to reproduce this effect in a painting was hindered by my lack of talent. Had I the skills of a Vermeer, Dali or Frank Holmes, the painting I created -- which still exists and hangs on a wall next to the billiard table in my mother's home -- would have been much more interesting.

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OK, so here is the game. See how many of these extruded, exploded images you can identify. That is, what did the original photo look like? No one will get all seven, but there are a few here you should be able to sort out. Good luck!

Top to Bottom
1. The Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles
2. The cover of Jeff Beck's first album, Beck-Ola--based on a painting by Magritte
3. Our gaggle geese
4. Portion of a large abstract painting from my senior year at Ohio U.
5. Abstract painting with snakeskin in the center
6. Cloud design created by means of inks and denatured alcohol on canvas
7. Guitar player and drummer from the Fractals

Some of these would make interesting illustrations for an article, book cover or blog post, don't ya think?
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We live in an amazing world. Make time to explore it. And have a great day.

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