Jason Baalman might be called an artist's artist, a member of a special breed devoted to mastering technique and innovating new materials. What he creates with ketchup or Cheetos, or lipstick, or, most recently, plastic Army men is more striking than the work many people create with the finest tools of the trade.
Baalman's real breakthrough, however, was his decision to put his artistic process up for viewing on the Internet. He films himself painting with these strange materials inside his Old Colorado City studio and speeds up the footage, taking viewers from blank canvas to quirky masterpiece in a matter of minutes. Millions of hits later, he's become a reclusive YouTube celebrity (and not the embarrassing kind).
Ho-hum materials manufactured at a breakneck pace flood daily life, and the omnipresence of the Internet has long since reached disconcerting breadth. Baalman employs the best qualities from both worlds to create something of value: critically respected art at its most accessible.
His draftsmanship alone is worthy of merit, yet he takes his projects further, by building a performance and not just a tangible piece of work. The video that films the process is, in itself, the final result a result that, happily, can be played infinitely.