New Yorker cover art created on an iPhone

The cover sports a night scene around a hot dog stand on 42nd Street in Manhattan

Need to find a restaurant with the iPhone? There's an app for that. Want to read a book? There's an app for that. Wondering how your baseball team is doing? There's an app for that. Creating New Yorker cover art? There's an app for that, too. Yep, that's right. The cover for the current issue of the New Yorker was created with an iPhone app.

The cover sports a night scene around a hot dog stand on 42nd Street in Manhattan. To create the image, artist Jorge Colombo used a $5 iPhone application called Brushes. Colombo told The New York Times he loved creating the scene with the iPhone because he didn't draw attention to himself, the way he would with an easel and paint, as he stood on 42nd street for over an hour tapping away on his iPhone.

While a New Yorker cover created with an iPhone app has that neat-o factor, Brushes is not going to revolutionize publishing, since its uses are somewhat limited. The overall effect of the New Yorker cover is a slightly blurred image that the Times described as "dreamy, not sharp and technological." New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly loved the iPhone-created cover because it was "free flowing" and doesn't have that digital feel. However, Brushes is limited to a look and feel of "smears and washes of color," a style that can get old pretty fast if it is overused.

What's amazing though is the fact that someone was able to create a work of art with a smartphone. It shows how close the iPhone has come to being a fully functioning mini-computer. And if you can design a New Yorker cover with an iPhone, just imagine what you could do with the rumored 7-to 10-inch Apple tablet, if it ever comes out.

For the moment though, The New Yorker novelty will be sticking with us. The magazine says it will post a new Colombo iPhone original every week. It will be interesting to see what Colombo comes up with, but I wonder how long a novelty like this will last.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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