Materials: Acrylic on Birch board.
Availability: For sale $1750.
The story behind Siemens PLM – The Conquest of Bread
A painting of a ship. A ship charging across the waves with a man up front steering it – his three companions lounge on a sunbed behind him. Wait, that ship looks a little weird. Close inspection will soon reveal that the source image is a composite of a photograph and a CAD model which has been perfectly aligned and various layers allowed to be seen.
When I first came across this image a few years ago I thought it would make for an incredible photorealist painting. I could see that depending on the viewer it could have different meanings. For an engineer it was a celebration of the Siemens PLM software and especially the design application Siemens NX. For the average person it would be an interesting image that invited further viewing to get to understand just what they were looking at. For me it is both these things – and there is a conceptual value to the image which goes beyond the image. This painting is also about money. That is why the painting is titled Siemens PLM – The Conquest of Bread.
My political views are best described as an anarcho-pacifist or an anarcho-communist and one of the biggest influences on my political views is a book by Peter Kropotkin. His book The Conquest of Bread points out what he considers to be the defects of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism and why he believes they thrive on and maintain poverty and scarcity. He goes on to propose a more decentralized economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organization already exist, both in evolution and in human society.
In April 2021 I decided to paint this image for an art prize (50 Squared). My goal was to basically pull out all of the stops and take my art to the next level. I wanted to offer up a work of art that was incredibly visually complex in order to showcase my talents as well as something that is interesting on a conceptual level. When I decided to give the painting its title I knew there was an opportunity to give these conceptual hints.
I expect that many will see the term as ‘oh he means that this dude who owns the boat has conquered the making of bread (money)’. And that is valid. It all depends on your point of view. I love being able to create multi-dimensional art. This painting is a celebration of the most powerful design tool there is – Siemens PLM/NX. I have worked as a mechanical draftsman and can attest to the praiseworthiness of this powerful (and expensive) software. Siemens NX can trace its roots back to 1969! This painting is also an incredibly interesting visual expedition, the combination of the photograph and the CAD file invite the viewer to explore the composition (Note: I haven’t faithfully copied every little nuance, I wanted to improve the composition by eliminating some passages of extremely complex detail.)
Primarily though the painting (for me anyway) is about wealth, power and privilege. It is also a painting I am most proud of. It is the best painting I have ever done.