“Turning photographs into abstract expressionist paintings” by Wang and Akleman

  • ©Youyou Wang and Ergun Akleman




    Turning photographs into abstract expressionist paintings



    During the recent history of painting there has been several movements who tried to obtain an illusion of flattened 3D space. Cubists employed multi-perspective views to flatten the 3D space [Meadows and Akleman 2000]. Impressionists and abstract expressionists, on the other hand, flattened 3D space with layers of paints to make objects fuzzy. A particular paint layering technique is impasto, which is introduced by impressionist artists such as Claude Monet or Vincent VanGogh [Schaefer et al. 2008]. Another paint layering technique is drip painting, which is introduced by abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock [Taylor 1999]. Abstract expressionism became popularized throughout the 20th century with artists such as Robert Jay Wolff, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, and Robert Motherwell [Ross 1990]. Unlike Pollock, most abstract expressionist painters uses impasto to obtain flatten effect and further transform images from flattened 3D representational form to abstract. Many of the abstract expressionists painted layers upon layers of paint until they were satisfied with a result. For instance, in Woman by Willem de Kooning, we may make sense of a set of eyes and a mouth, but it is really through the name of the painting that we associate a human form with the image. This abstraction is obtained by applying paint in consistent impastos which thin out to the canvas in a few places while rising elsewhere to heavy ridges.


    1. Meadows, S., and Akleman, E., 2000. Abstract digital paintings created with painting camera technique. Proceedings of D’ART 2000/Information Visualization.
    2. Ross, C., 1990. Abstract expressionism: Creators and critics. Abrams Books, New York.
    3. Schaefer, I., von Saint-George, C., and Lewerentz, K., 2008. Painting light: The hidden techniques of the impressionists. Skira Rizzoli, New York.
    4. Taylor, R. P., 1999. Fractal analysis of pollock’s drip paintings. Nature, June 1999, pp. 399–422.

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©Youyou Wang and Ergun Akleman ©Youyou Wang and Ergun Akleman ©Youyou Wang and Ergun Akleman ©Youyou Wang and Ergun Akleman ©Youyou Wang and Ergun Akleman

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