Alchemy and Digital Art

The alchemy of good curating amounts to this: Sometimes, placing one work of art near another makes one plus one equal three. Two artworks arranged alchemically leave each intact, transform both, and create a third thing. – Jerry Saltz

The August calendar is inspired by alchemy. What is alchemy and how can it inform the creative process or the image? I had the great fortune this month to take a class on the Alchemy any Photography with Joel Weishaus. Joel is a digital literary artists and has been contributing works to his website since 1993. I can’t express, with as much clarity as he did, the complexity of the ideas behind alchemy but I will share what I learned.


In a sense the alchemical reality is one in which everything is animated and connected. This concept is in contrast to the idea that the world is a cold objective place where only ‘I’ exist. Here is an example of a sculpture I think meets this idea of creating a sense of an other out in nature that is alive. The ‘Predator’ project: Artist creates disturbing mirror sculptures that make human forms blend into their surroundings.


Alchemy is a process of transformation (like lead into gold) and in art this concept can be explored in several ways. Some of the examples presented included the physical material, such as water, being captured by photography. Some were collage images and some the physical manipulation and transformation of the surface material. Here are some images to show those ideas.

Beatrice Pediconi, 9′ / Unlimited, veduta della mostra / exhibition view Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia © Beatrice Pediconi

Joel Peter Witkin, “Night in a Small Town”

Digital Art and Alchemy

In my experimentation for the August calendar art I took these alchemy concepts and created a new type of image that is unlike what I have been doing both in process and form. I felt like I wanted to combine / collage images in an alchemical way and decided to use 2 mobile drawing apps (colorfy and Forge of Neon) as the starting point. I downloaded a coloring app and the motion drawing app. I took screenshots of them and then used illustrator to edit the colors and combine the images.

I feel excited by the final image which has familiar floral elements but also includes this abstract Rorschach element that transforms and makes more alive. I also uploaded this digital art to RedBubble, a print on demand store, that produced the featured image with the scarf in this post. I hope you enjoy this month’s calendar and perhaps are inspired to try some creative alchemy of your own!