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I felt it was essential to start the Emerging Tech collection by talking about and addressing how we deal with accelerated change - an oil painting called Acceleration of Change.

How do you feel about change?

Do you welcome it? Love it?  Seek it? Initiate it? Do you demand it? Do you avoid it? Maybe resist it for as long as possible? Would you prefer that the time stops and everything stays the same?

The truth is…change is the only constant in our lives. It may come easier to some and more challenging to others, but it eventually catches up to all of us just the same.

Daeu talks about the inspiration and meaning of the Acceleration of Change painting on I Paint Ideas Podcast. Listen here in full or wherever you get your podcasts.

Technology and Acceleration of Change

Technology is one area where change is ever accelerating. I devoted an entire collection to emerging tech and its impact on society. I find it fascinating. Topics like digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning; virtual, augmented, and mixed realities…all the techs: fintech & blockchain, fashion tech, nanotech, biotech…robotics & automation, Internet of Things, wearables, 3D/4D printing, big data, quantum computing, and the list goes on and on… But also concepts of digital-first, fast ideation, and – to keep up with everything – running teams in agile swarm configuration…

I felt it was essential to start the Emerging Tech collection by talking about and addressing how we deal with accelerated change first. An oil painting called Acceleration of Change.

Because if we cannot hack that, we’re doomed.

The Initial Idea 

The initial idea for this piece, Acceleration of Change, was an abstract composition where I used color, pattern, texture, and so on to give an impression to the observer that the change was coming faster and faster. It was successful in that sense. It was successful in isolating change and visualizing the acceleration.

Daeu Angert. Acceleration of Change. Initial idea drawing.

But it lacked the emotion of what it’s like when you are in the middle of the change. It was too logical, too geometric, too calculated, and too predictable at the end of the day. And I hated it! I can’t convey how frustrating it is for me to take my concept [I thought was good], executed in oil on canvas rather well if I can say so myself, and then realize that it completely missed the mark. In my frustration, I scraped all of the paint off of the canvas. I felt it was mediocre; anyone can do it. I had to add emotion and movement and offer some solutions to deal with change.

What DOES it feel like to be confronted with an accelerated change?

I thought about that saying, “if the tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it make a sound? If a change happens and nobody notices, did it make an impact?

The problem with emerging tech I wanted to paint about is that many of them are exponential technologies, meaning they start their development and maturation very slowly. Once they turn the corner on that exponential curve, they’ll hit everyone over the head. And by then, it’ll be too late. The second problem is that some of them are not emerging anymore…they are here already, but people choose to ignore them.

So, after I got all of the paint off of the canvas, I felt a bit better. At least I was at square one and not staring at mediocrity. For this one, though, I had to dig a bit deeper, get a lot quieter, and listen to the images showing up.

One image that captured my imagination was a tango dance between the optimism for the future and the fear of the unknown.

I chose to paint a woman in a fire orange/red dress dancing with the darkness: the optimism and the unknown.

To get ready, I watched tango competitions and listened to Argentinian tango to feel the rhythm. I even asked my mom to play a tango – La Paloma- on her accordion for me over the phone while I was painting. She was a total sweetheart about it.

Animated Study. Acceleration of Change. Emerging Tech Collection.

An actual tango dancer told me that I painted a follower (the woman or the optimism). She would take the energy from her partner (the unknown) and interpret it into a movement. In this case, boleo – the kick of the left leg.

She is doing it with great poise balancing effortlessly on her right leg. I tried to make a point that she is doing it even in uncertain times by not showing her right foot firmly on the ground. You can’t even see it. The optimism for what’s to come exists even in uncertain times when we have no footing on solid ground. You can also see the grip of the unknown taking hold and hugging her left hip.

Her face and hair are a negative image of what they would typically look like if I were doing a realistic portrait of the dancer, indicating that she has opened herself to change and starting to lean in and embrace the unknown. It shows her commitment. She’s decided to go forward.

daeuArt Acceleration of Change
Daeu Angert. Acceleration of Change. Emerging Tech Collection. 2020. Oil on canvas. 30″ x 48″

Her upper body is in a state of active transformation. You see her back and right arm oscillates between what is and what could be. It’s almost like a time-lapse capture where it goes so fast it’s a blur showing transformation in progress. Her dress and left leg are firmly in the what is. That transformation is yet to come.

The original Acceleration of Change is now a part of a private collection. Limited edition signed prints are available for sale.

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