The low-fidelity cousin of photoshopping is paintmash. As we get the new millenium well under way, there is a body of computer artists who long for the days before all this high tech equipment. Much as the demo scene still has new releases for C64 and ZX Spectrum, so the computer art scene has a thriving paintmash community.

The term 'paintmash' refers specifically to the use of Microsoft Paint as a tool for generating or altering pictures. There are several different styles apparant:

  • Photoshop Simulation - Using paint's rudimentary cut and paste, lack of layers, and poor variety of tools, the artist alters photographs, by compositing, and drawing. An ironic statement, the result tends to be extremely fake-looking.
  • Naïve Art - The Quick and Dirty approach. Coarse brushes and bright colours make a naïve-style of image, reminiscent of young children's kindergarten work. By including adult themes, the irony and humour are enhanced.
  • Fine Art - A true show of skill. By using only very basic tools, to produce a strikingly good piece of artwork takes time and effort.

Use of graphic tablets is usually discouraged - because it is generally the difficulty in generating the image which is important, not the final results. A tablet makes the picture appear too natural.

It is possible to create Paintmash pictures without using MSPaint - for example in GIMP, the same effect can be generated using only the pencil tool with solid brush patterns.

The movement traces its roots back to Thom Curtis, who ran the now defunct gallery at www.paintmash.com; and the photoshopping community at b3ta.