To Rudy Vogel, a digital photo is a palette of colors, shadows, shards of light, and textures for him to manipulate like a painter manipulates oils. He works exclusively in digital art generated through image capture. Which may come as a surprise to anyone who looks closely at his artwork.
Because a close look plunges you into a world of textures: scratchings, rubbings, lumpy incrusted surfaces that look like plaster piled on with a trowel, or chipped away with a hammer. Or just worn away by the ravages of time and the elements. Rudy’s surfaces have an intense 3 dimensional energy to them that belies their digital thinness.
The subject matter can come from anywhere, most often from his own photos. A photographer from his youth, his eye is always on the lookout for interesting patterns, shadows, highlights, and compositions. His work has allowed him to travel and sample exotic tastes, colors and aromas from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. But the photo, often unrecognizable in the finished piece, is just the jumping-off point for the image manipulation software he has developed over time, to create his unique imagery.
Making art is Rudy’s avocation. Though self-taught, he has achieved recognition for his work in the burgeoning medium now known as Mobile Art. Originally called by its practitioners “iPhoneography,” the medium was obliged to adopt a broader moniker with the advent of iPad, and then other smartphones and mobile devices capable of in-app image editing. Mobile Art is art made on mobile devices. And Rudy is recognized, worldwide, as one of its leading lights, chosen at this year’s MacWorld/iWorld conference as one of only 30 world Mobile Masters. Today, Rudy’s work enjoys a loyal following through social media and among private collectors.
Asked to pick a favorite from among his images that appear on Griffin’s Designers Series cases, Rudy scratches his head. “That is a very hard question to answer.” He explains that each piece “reflects a part of me, and, in a way, I consider them to be my offspring. So, how can you possibly pick a favorite child?” But, when pressed, Rudy identifies The Multiplier as an image with “a unique drama and emotion. Its aura is steeped in mystery and fantasy, since the persona can assume any one of a number of characters and personalities, much like a chameleon, or doppelganger. I believe this draws out great intrigue and inquisitiveness on the part of the viewer, which for me, is the ultimate buzz.”
Rudy has created a unique piece intended to promote both Griffin and his own artwork. Titled A Woman Possessed with Griffin … Multiplied, it is an assemblage of twelve Griffin Designer Series cases: eleven of The Multiplier, and one Woman Possessed. “I think we made some history together,” Rudy states, “in that, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time a piece of art was created from iPhone cases featuring artwork created with an iPhone.”
Rudy is one of the six founding members of TiiG, The international iPhoneography Group, a collective who adhere strictly to the creation of digital artwork on iPhone and iPad, using only iOS apps. All six founding members are regular contributors to the only continuously online-juried website dedicated exclusively to iPhoneographic imagery, Pixelsatanexhibition.com. The images exhibited are all created on iOS devices (iPhone or iPad) using currently available apps. The practice of using multiple editing apps on an iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device is known as app stacking. An ever-growing community of digital artists has embraced this new medium with a passion, producing unique pieces that could not have been created any other way.
A collection of Rudy’s recent work can be viewed on his Pinterest site. Several of Rudy’s pieces have been selected for inclusion in a current exhibit at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Lens as Palette. And he is one of the Founding Artists at the first virtual Mobile Art museum in the world, New Era Museum, in Florence, Italy. Exclusive iPhone cases featuring Rudy’s designs are available here.