-- points at literally anything -- "That is a computer."
SK: So much of the history of painting throughout art history is about hiding that. About not really showing marks.
JAS: The game of hiding labor is still being played in other fields like computer graphics, video games, and virtual reality. If a Hollywood movie switches from a live actor to a computer-generated one in the same scene, that's where they're still trying to hide things. That’s where they're trying to hide their labor by making the transition seamless and passable.
I look at the iPhone and I think, where’s the work that went into this thing? Which part was made by machine and which part was hand-assembled? The labor is invisible. Even on the software side, when I call for a car or when I post something online, I don't know exactly what the servers are working on. It's a black box scenario. My phone uses the energy in its battery, but it also uses energy from the wireless network and from the software companies who provide me with their services. Today we have this whole global ecosystem that works to hide evidence of labor in its products and processes. Painting is a device that shows labor.
SK: In contrast to painting with paint, you have infinite material when you work with a screen or when you work on a digital painting. How do you think about quality control with that in mind?
JAS: Digital painting comes with its own set of material limitations, usually in the form of environmental constraints like the programmed capabilities of the software you are using (a big one for me, obviously!), the number of representable colors in your output, the amount of memory or processing power available in your system, its battery life or portability. In practice, you have an infinite amount of “paint,” but a limited amount of time. I would say that you should keep everything, regardless of quality, because it is your time that's the most limited, and secure storage space, even for large work, is very cheap when compared to canvas.
SK: It seems you're more of a Marxist than you realize.