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Camcorder and Electric Toothbrush
drawing, graphite, coloured ink, coloured pencil,water colour, acrylic on paper, drawing domestic objects, drawing technology, study of line, form, shape, drawings that morph, morphing an object by drawing, exploring objects in the domestic world, drawings in a series, drawing a camcorder, function and form, function and fantasy, power and control, useful objects, juxtaposing function and dream through drawing, infusing desire through drawing, playing with technology, consider the electronic toothbrush, bizarre drawings,
description

Camcorder and Electric Toothbrush is one of a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of further explorations by Pottruff into the  domesticRemaining much at home; devoted to home duties or pleasures; as, a domestic man or woman.  Living in or near human habitations; domesticated; tame as distinguished from wild; as, domestic animals.  Made in one's own house, nation, or country; as, domestic manufactures, wines, etc.  One who lives in the family of an other, as hired household assistant; a house servant. Articles of home manufacture, especially cotton goods.  (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  object, with multiple approaches to the camcorder.  In some of the drawings the camcorder morphs into the High Compression Camcorder and the Electric Carving Camcorder, combining  functionalRefers to the intended use or purpose of an object. The term is often applied to manufactured products, particularly crafts, and when discussing designs for architecture. Though sometimes said to be non-functional, art is expected to function in various ways, including: to beautify, to adorn, to express, to illustrate, to mediate, to persuade, to record, to redefine reality, to redefine art, to provide therapy, to give unselfconscious experience, to provide paradigms of order and/or chaos, and to train perception of reality. Anything that is not functional is called nonfunctional. Often the decorative qualities of a thing are considered nonfunctional. (Artlex.com)  technology with a dream world where consumers are encouraged to impose their fantasies of power and control onto useful objects.

In Camcorder and Electric Toothbrush Pottruff infuses this desire into a highly sophisticated piece of technology, the camcorder, and the humble toothbrush. However, even the toothbrush has been bulked up in Pottruff’s bizarre drawing. Or, is it all that bizarre? After all, who ever asked for a battery-powered toothbrush?

additional resources Things to Think About
  • Can you think of a product, a print ad or a TV commercial where the product is positioned to appeal to a consumer’s desire for power or control?  Would the product or ad be as attractive without that extra appeal?
  • Have you ever been asked to fill out a marketing research survey? What do you think happens to the information you provide to the researchers?
  • Check out this website about a TV program called The Merchants of Cool.   Does it bother you that consumers – especially young consumers – are being systematically studied to find out what they like and dislike? Is it scary that five huge corporations control so much media, or do you want to go work for one of them?
  • Read the following article about the “horsepower race”. Do Pottruff’s images reflect this craving for more and more power? Can you think of other products that reflect this kind of marketing approach?
  • In one of their songs, Batteries Not Included the band Jethro Tull wrote: “Lights that flash, wheels that go round, Digital display, Fresh silicon chips to enjoy, And I need them.” Is this an accurate description of our society?
Advanced Activity

Another artist who was interested in  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  technical and scientific objects was Leonardo da Vinci. He created specific plans for leaders of his day who  commissionedA contract between an artist and an individual. The artist agrees to create an image or design for the individual for a predetermined price.  him to  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  and draw war machines, and for himself, he created plans for flying machines.

Here are some links to help you with your search for Leonardo da Vinci:

Online Activity
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Studio Activity

Pottruff is interested in retaining integrity in drawing. He uses traditional methods of drawing, but his  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter consists of modern mechanical objects. Pottruff draws with a “gusto” that makes the viewer aware that these objects click and whirr and move in mechanical ways. What does he do in his  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  to produce this effect? Look carefully at the work and write what you think Pottruff is doing in each of the following categories:

Now try to make a  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  in Pottruff’s  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  yourself. Here are some tips:

  • Choose some current technological objects that you use every day, for example:
  • Cell phone
  • Ipod
  • Laptop computer
  • Wii
References

Beatty, Greg.  ‘Drawing on consumer culture.’  Regina Leader Post, April 12, 1993.

Dault, Gary Michael.  ‘Industrial Strength Drawing.’  Hamilton Arts, 1997.

Long, Timothy.  Artists with their Work.  Exhibition catalogue.  MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1994.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning