Google Streetview for Artists
Like most technology on the internet my husband shows me, I initially shrugged off Google Streetview and later came back and became obsessed with it.
If you haven't used Google Streetview... its much more than the fuzzy satellite pics that Google gave us a while back. This is how it is explained on Wikipedia: "Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from various positions along many streets in the world." That I don't think is the best description... basically you can go to various cities around the globe and virtually walk down the streets. You can see the view from every angle from every step you are at: you can look up, look down, and turn to see the view to the right or left.
My new obsession with Google Streetview started when I was visiting the blog of the talented artist Leslie Hawes who often uses Google Streetview to find landscape compositions in far off places. Here is a drawing she did of a home in France.
"France is beautiful.
As I travel, virtually, using Google Street View, I discover that so many places look like somewhere else. This could be Ireland or Bucks County, Pennsylvania. But no matter where I find a stone building, I will likely stop to draw." Leslie Hawes
Leslie also takes part in a blog called the Virtual Paint Out that blogger Bill Guffey started. "The Virtual Paint Out: VIRTUAL PAINTOUTS USING GOOGLE STREET VIEW AS A RESOURCE FOR TRAVELING THE WORLD TO FIND INTERESTING LOCATIONS AND SUBJECTS TO PAINT."
Basically Guffey posts a location that is available on Google Streetview and viewers of the blog travel there on their computer, find a good composition and create an artwork of that place which he then posts on the blog. Its amazing to see them all together and the different things people find in his posted destinations. Here is a recent Paint Out of Norway.
My head is swimming with possible ways to use this technology... art history lessons, compositions for artwork... how about an illustrator being able to find the perfect background in a faraway land without leaving his home. Or let's say you need a reference of someone walking across a road or on a bike... just go to a major city on Google Streetview you will most likely find one (with the face blurred out of course). I even know where to find a nice shot of a man bending over gardening (thanks to my friend Barbara).
Here I am in Taipei, on a little sidestreet just steps off of a major road with huge large buildings... because its not just the major roads with the landmarks... its small roads, roads with houses... surrounding country roads...
Taipei, side street
Taipei, on a major road
Although I have many plans for Streetview, including a virtual tour somewhere with my students and maybe a landscape, I have for now just amassed an album on my facebook account of significant places from my past present and future; a sample of which I will end this post with.
My current studio... in Keene, NH
Northern Illinois University where I spent 4 college years and think I graduated from (I still have those nightmares where they take the diploma from my hands)
Across the Kankakee River from my mom's house in Illinois
My favorite coffee shop in Seattle where I lived for a short 2 years.
Take a virtual tour yourself! Here is a map of the current coverage of Google Streetview!