John Antoine Labadie
'In Time' by Ashhar & Envision

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First, I most humbly thank my friend Shankar Barua for his kind invitation to be a part of the IDEA #7. Shankar and I have had a fascinating, informative and inspiring electronic relationship for a number of years now and I find his art work and projects of high quality and great value. The IDEA #7 is one of a number of international projects with which I have been involved, including the IDEA #6. It is a privilege to be in the company of so many creative and thoughtful persons. I hope those who have the opportunity to view this edition of the IDEA are moved on this well engineered CD and talent-laden. My best to you all.

A bit of background: I began formal art training in the USA in 1969 during the height of the Viet Nam war. Continuation of that study was almost immediately interrupted. The next few years found me working as a conscientious objector and employed as a psychiatric aid in a mental institution. Several university degrees later and learning much from work experiences ranging from working on a sheep ranch, as an industrial engineer, as a high school teacher, as an academic journal editor, as a scientific illustrator on archeology projects in Central America and as a photographer and graphic artist brings me toward my fifty-fourth year on this planet. This academic year I complete my first decade as a full-time university professor. Since 1994 I have been with at the University of North Carolina - Pembroke. An overview of this institution is available at www.uncp.edu

In 1994 I founded the "Computer Graphics" program at UNC Pembroke. Since that time we have seen that program grow faster than any other studio arts program on our campus. In 2002 the name of my program was changed to "Digital Arts" to more accurately reflect the broader range of digital studies that can be undertaken by students at our institution. Today the majority of the students in studio arts at UNC Pembroke study in the Digital Arts area.

In 1997 two friends and I began a collaboration with the UNC Pembroke Music department and the UNC Pembroke Mass Communications department which has resulted in an interdisciplinary, cross-listed, cooffered track of class called "Media Integration." Such activities are listed at our website www.uncp.edu/digital_academy

While living in the slow-paced, rural community of Red Springs, North Carolina I have seen myriad changes happen in academic and throughout the world. I live in a world full of remarkable circumstances: incredible and perplexing occurrences abound. As an artist I am a communicator and channeler of sensations, a describer of sentient perceptions, a synthesizer of diverse intellectualizations, and a purveyor of exotic marginalia. As a teacher I seek visualizations that may spark of truth or engender the crystalline distillation of an idea through the art making process. In my art work it is my desire to reveal something honest and insightful about life-stuff deeply and powerfully experienced. For me this process most often involves digital work of one sort or another which is often blended in or combined with drawing and painting.

A historical posting of my digital expressive work and digital photographs is available at http://www.uncp.edu/art/labadie/index.htm

As to specific processes in making work I often begin with chemical or digital photography and/or with the scanning of found objects. Later I blend in my own traditional media drawings, merge atomic and digital collages, add various forms of photomontages, delve into the myriad possibilities offered by various digital technologies. I and also exploit written words, even though these common graphical forms are nearly impossible to perceive in my completed work -- word forms are almost always "there." I propose that artistic ends always justifies artistic means: I use the tools that help me share ideas of value. In this regard a constant and continuous evolution of foci and means are the status quo.

A good deal of the digital work I have accomplished in the last few years has also been in the area of new media. I am particularly interested in forms of digital animation ... time-based work, and ways of making visualizations interactive. Working in new media incites certain questions and demands some cogent answers as well. It is the search for both of these forms of inquiry is both exciting and a valuable means of personal and professional growth.

For me the idea of making art is quite simply interpreting what is interesting either in the moment or in terms of formal critical models. I also see myself as a collector ... one who looks at what has been left behind by others, one who is present when something of brief duration evidences itself, one who locates and sifts the detritus and finds value. I particularly enjoy the small, the trivial and the ephemeral in the world around me. The careful observer might well see these traits among my works on the IDEA #7. I would be glad to correspond with anyone who wants to discuss my art work. I can be reached at john.labadie@uncp.edu

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Dr. John Antoine Labadie
Associate Professor of Art
& Director of the UNC Pembroke Digital Academy
University of North Carolina Pembroke
Pembroke, NC 28372 USA

e-mail: john.labadie@uncp.edu
wwweb: www.uncp.edu/art/fac_staff/john_antoine_labadie/