Here are this month's contributions to LSE Perspectives, the online gallery featuring images contributed by students and staff, reflecting some of the fascinations, concerns, quirks and artistic sensibilities of our LSE community. To view a larger picture and to find out more information about each entry please click on the thumbnail. This months contributions are all provided by Professor William J Baumol, the Harold Price Professor of Entrepreneurship and Academic Director at the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stern School of Business at New York University, senior economist and professor emeritus at Princeton University who worked as an assistant lecturer at LSE between 1947 and 1949 and is an Honorary Fellow of the School.
Each month a new selection of photographs will be selected by the Arts Advisory Group. You can find out more about how to submit your contribution at LSE Perspectives submissions.
On My Computer Paintings by William J. Baumol
My education in the visual arts began some sixty years ago, when I studied at the Art Students' League in New York City and, then, as an undergraduate at City College in New York City, where I specialized in the two fields that most interested me-economics and lithography. During the Second World War, while serving in Normandy, I found some carving tools in an abandoned German blockhouse, and two German prisoners who were under my supervision, taught me the elements of woodcarving. Since then I have continued my activities in oil painting, sculpture and computer painting, the last of these represented in this exhibition. I have had several exhibits of my work in New York and elsewhere and, for well over a decade, taught a course in wood sculpture at Princeton University.
For the past 10 years, my prime artistic activity has been computer painting, using Corel Painter 8 as my medium. It is an extremely flexible painting mode, capable of effective imitation of the older media-oils, water colours, etc.-and of a number of things the older media can accomplish only with great difficulty, if at all. Computer painting offers two major attractions: the ability to compare directly two versions of a piece, to see which the painter really prefers, and the ability to disseminate the artist's product instantly and costlessly over the globe. While I have sold paintings on occasion, the Internet has yielded me great satisfaction in the form of comments from China, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Austria, among other places, and has brought me several requests, to which I have always gratefully acceded, to reproduce a painting of mine on the cover of a forthcoming book by the petitioner.
It is not easy to find concrete words to express the somewhat amorphous goals and orientation of my painting activity. My aim is to produce an interplay of shapes and colours in a composition that aspires to analogy with a contrapuntal composition by Bach. I do usually include distorted elements of human or animal portraiture, but that is mostly to add interest to the forms encompassed in the painting, rather than any attempt at something analogous to illustration or to composition of program music. I try to follow two principles in my work. The first is retention of a strong element of ambiguity in order to invite the viewers to create their own interpretation of what they see, hoping to make them co-creators of each piece. The second aspiration, much more difficult to accomplish, is to work on each line, form and region so that the viewer is given to feel that any change in such an element of the work would be inappropriate and constitute deterioration of quality.
Entries from our other collections can be located at LSE Perspectives.