Peter Erickson’s Warped WordPad

Last week, Peter Erickson emailed me and asked if I would come see his newest exhibit at the now-defunct clothing store Lodge. I had never met Peter before, and I certainly hadn’t seen any of his work. On a lark, I decided to take him up on his offer and, as I later found out, Peter’s artwork is as strange as it is stunning.

A Northern Liberties resident, Erickson uses an artistic process that’s beyond conventional, creating what can only be described as a complete smorgasbord of color and form (think of that Lost Boys scene from Robin Williams’ “Hook.”

To achieve the intricately detailed designs in his work, Peter employs WordPad (commonly known as the poor man’s Microsoft Word) and MS Paint to manipulate the coding of each specific color channel. “MS Paint is really good for quickly smearing ‘paint’- but is extremely limited in almost everything else,” he explained. “Wordpad allows me to manipulate the code of an image. It’s completely illegible, and seemingly random. It’s always interesting to see what it spits out.”

Here’s an example of what Peter is referring to:

ØØÙÚÚÛÛÜÝÞÞßààáââããääåæççèèéêêëëìííîîïïïîíííìëêêêéèèçææåäããââáààßßÞÝÝÜÛÚÚÙØØ×ÖÖÕÕÔÓÒÒÑÐÐÏÎÎÍÌÌËÊÊÉÈÇÇÆÆÅÄÄÃÂÂÁÀÀ¿¾¾½¼¼»ºº¹¹¸··¶¶µ´´³³²²±±°¯

Here, Erickson refers to the arcane process behind computer image manipulation, representing a somewhat avant garde means of creation, in which incoherent code  is used to produce stunning works of art that are far from the crude renderings you and I have probably made using MS Paint.

As Erickson puts it, “Simply moving around parts of the code will completely change the image, through distortion and separation of the color channels”. And after some (or perhaps, a lot) of tinkering, Erickson is able to create finely detailed images that, while visually cohesive, seem immensely complex and, well, kind of tweaked-out- almost as if someone managed to dump an entire Flaming Lips concert onto canvas.

Check out Peter Erickson’s art at Lodge all this month.

Link to photos for mobile users.

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Chris Lipczynski

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