Monday, December 16, 2013

Rural artist creates, curates art from Google images

Bill Guffey, an artist in Burkesville, Ky., on the Cumberland River where John Muir called it "a friendly stream," enjoys turning Google Earth Street View images into paintings. The site provides street-levels view of countless locations, and Guffey saw in it the opportunity to paint anything with a perspective "almost as good as being there in person," Cheryl Truman writes for the Lexington Herald-Leader. The first place Guffey decided to paint was a Chinese restaurant in New York City. "I thought it was an interesting building, thought I would try to paint it, and I was hooked," Guffy told Truman. "In Street View, you can find any kind of building, tree or landscape you want."
Herald-Leader photos: Anne Arsenault painted Venice (left) based on a Google Street View image of the Italian city (right).
After Guffey discovered this opportunity, he wanted to share his work, and got permission from Google. An attorney for Google even purchased 50 paintings, one from each state, and the Google itself purchased seven, three for a London office and four for California.

"Almost five years into the project, Guffey's Virtual Paintout has seen 3,900 submissions. The first month's subject was Baltimore. This month's subject is Venice," Truman writes. Click here to see the artists' work. Each piece of art includes a link to the Google image on which it is based.

Guffey likes painting using Street View because it allow him to look at locations from different distances and angles. "It's just like you're walking up and down the street, and you decide," he said. He has painted about 150 pieces based on Street View since 2008. New participants join the project each month. Guffey said, and "There are a couple of people who have been with me since nearly the first time." (Read more)

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