The Three C's: Comics, Community Murals and Computer Media

Linkages exist and are emerging among the three most vital artmaking media of today, artforms invented or vibrantly renewed in the past twenty years. It is upon these richly evolving media that an art curriculum could be based.

Comics use pictures and words together in a narrative multiple of potentially cinematic scope; the independent comic (absorbing mainstream traditions) is the Blakean poetic printmaking for our age.

The Community Mural at its best returns painting to architecture, methodically pairing painting skills in a variety of contemporary and classical styles with organizational/managerial skills in a local political context.

Computer Media extends to include digital imaging, adaptation of painting skills to new pressure-sensitive input devices and software, computer-human interface design, digital video and sound editing, performance support--the skills of desktop multimedia as well as electronic augmentation of all the arts.

By using these three content-driven media as core visual art disciplines, a range of narrative & formal art issues are encountered upon which the student can sharpen and measure skills. There are shared aesthetic issues of the reductive simplicity of graphic form for maximum communicative value. There are shared technical issues of publication and democratic accessibility, of output upon paper or in electronic forms that remain upon the computer via CD-ROM or online cyberspace.

There are shared social issues in all three media around the creation of environments, communities which may be a physical neighborhood embodied in a mural or cyberspaces like Bulletin Boards or collaborative groupware. Also evident are shared historical influences, like that of photography, cinema, opera & conceptual art (as environment, performance and document) upon these media. As art educators we must organize the skills & knowlege needed to master diverse impacts and demands.

Thriving outside of the traditional art market structure, "The Three C's" have been considered marginal to the conventional art world yet are the visual culture of great numbers of people globally. I believe these three media, with artists' and educators' aesthetics and ethics driving them, will continue to develop--through hybrids of CD-ROM publishing, hypermedia literature, virtual realities and online environments--to create a shared electronic kultursphere of meaningful artwork for all.

Related imagery and writings:

Presentations on "The Three C's" have been delivered at SCAN (Small Computers in the Arts Network conference) in Philadelphia, at the University of Michigan & elsewhere.

"The Three C's" Venn diagram (c) Mike Mosher 1990. Yes, clearly inspired by N. Negroponte's late-1980s diagram of the intersecting circles of Computers, Movies and Publishing.

Return to Opening.