In the ever-growing world of technology, artists are finding new ways to share their work. This includes easy access to artistic applications on smartphones and tablets. I recently talked with Sudie Rakusin, a wonderful artist with degrees in painting from Boston University and University of Arizona, about her new app for artists called Unwind Time.
Creating an app is an “adventure,” says Rakusin. First, you need to have an ultimate goal of what you want your app to be. Unwind Time is a fantastical coloring book program with unique methods of color blending and shading, and an additional section of storybooks for children called “Savannah Blue’s Book Nook.” The app comes with beautiful ink renditions of women, animals, goddesses and more — all waiting to be colored in. Rakusin gave insight to her creation process:
“In 1998 I began releasing adult coloring books with my publishing company Winged Willow Press. When I viewed coloring apps they were lacking — simply point-and-fill blocks of limited color and devoid of creativity. I wanted to create a true coloring experience for the user. So, I created a palette with everything I would want to color — a myriad of color choices, ability for different shades, an opacity scale, various brush sizes, an eraser and the ability to zoom in to color details.”
A common thought is, “But I don’t know anything about programming, so I can’t make an app.” With the internet, this is an easy obstacle to overcome. A great website to show you how to get started is codewithchris.com. Outside resources either online or in person can be of great help. Rakusin, for example, knew her goal and used her publishing resources for assistance. She also understands how to translate her imagery into 2-D, 3-D and digital formats. “Being an artist is my life’s work,” she said.
“My paintings test the boundaries of what a ‘painting’ is; they are non-rectangular and incorporate 3-dimensional elements… including windows and doors that open, shelves that animals perch upon and LED lighting.” She puts passion into anything she sets her mind on, and her art has shifted over time as she tackled the challenges of feminism and incorporated the oppression of women and the neglect of animals and the earth into her powerful works. “After viewing my work,” she said when I asked what memorable responses she has had, “women have said to me, that for the first time, they see a person like themselves represented in artwork — women with large breasts, full figures, women of different ethnicities… and that my work moves them viscerally and on a heart plain.”
Rakusin knew she was an artist from the start and that it was all she wanted to do. She says that the most important things to being an artist are “a strong work ethic, continual experimentation and an ability to bounce back from failure.” And today artists can experiment even further using technology to create apps for the digital age, like Rakusin with Unwind Time and her beautiful images that allow the user to not only enjoy her art, but to share in her creation process as well. Rakusin wants to believe “that the extraordinary is possible,” and with modern advancements and new doors opening in the world of art, it is easier than ever to achieve. Some artists may complain that technology is replacing what makes art original and unique, but from hearing the passion that Rakusin finds in any of her currents works, I believe that technology is a helpful tool in expanding and enhancing artists’ creativity.
Be sure to check out Rakusin’s app Unwind Time on the Apple App Store.
Artist Ora Sorensen (orasorensenart.com) was born in New York but grew up overseas. She has owned a gallery in Delray Beach, Florida for 20 years, and has also been represented by other galleries across the country. Sorensen now lives and paints in North Carolina, and her paintings are collected worldwide and have been shown in numerous exhibitions.