The iPhone, that pocket-sized supercomputer that has revolutionized the cellular phone market, allows users to harness 007-esque technology with a mere fingertip. Apple junkies can feed their need to e-mail, GPS their way through neighborhoods as confusing as the South Side Slopes, convert dollars to drachmae and ... paint? Yes, there's an app for that.
This weekend, local and national artists will display their iPhone artwork at Zombo Gallery, in an informal but tech-savvy show that will also feature an impromptu jam session by iPhone musicians. The collection of prints for sale, hand-painted iPhone cases and iGeeks displaying their creations on tiny touch-screens comprise a precedent-setting event for Pittsburgh -- and maybe for the U.S.
"There is nothing like this out there. I think it's a very fertile ground for new and interesting things to happen," says Zombo proprietor Michael Devine.
The potentially burgeoning field of iPhone art is enabled by such apps as Brushes, in which artists choose colors from a wheel and finger-paint by using varied pressure to alter the thickness of brushstrokes. A similar program, Layers, allows artists to create several strata with a variety of design tools.
"It's like any tool," says exhibit co-sponsor Joe Wos, cartoonist and executive director of Pittsburgh's Toonseum cartoon-art gallery. "There's such a wide variety of styles you see, from very painterly style artwork, beautiful landscape pieces that look like watercolors to what we love -- cartoony-looking characters."
Wos conceived of a show focused on iPhone art when he saw what local artist Wayno did with the medium. Aside from Wayno's painterly creations, the show will also feature contributions from Wos and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers.
"I discovered that I cannot paint, but I can paint on an iPhone," says Wos. "All the things I can't do in real life, I can do on my iPhone."
For his part, Devine claims no understanding of creating visual art -- by hand or by phone. His contribution is the idea of an iPhone band: a jam session featuring guitarists running their fingers over touch screens, drummers tapping their phones and saxophonists blowing into their digital instruments.
"As a musician, I thought it would be really funny to show up at a club and not have any of the stupid equipment, just with a phone," Devine says. "I'm so tired of bringing heavy equipment, and you can just plug your iPhone into the PA system in a club."
Devine describes the event as a test run, a celebration of the creative possibilities of the iPhone, and the apps it has for just about everything.
The iPhone Show Opening: 6-10 p.m. Fri., Nov. 27. Closing: 6-10 p.m. Sat., Nov. 28. Zombo Gallery, 4900 Hatfield St., Lawrenceville. Free. 412-904-3703 or ZomboWorld.com.