Ed Ruscha only needed a Xerox copier and his film camera to make his famous artist book Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Not because the book wouldn’t have looked better as a C print on acid free archive-grade paper, but because that’s what he had available to make his book with the resources he had on hand.
Today we can buy an inkjet printer with the capacity to print beautiful colour photographs and images fro about 200€, and that’s if we want a really good machine with a low print-per-page cost, Wi-Fi connection and a flatbed scanner. The cheap ones go for about 40€ with the first ink cartridge included in the price.
Why then do we find ourselves in situations where we don’t start creating and rather wait for the right time, the time when we will be able to afford that 500€ 9600dpi A3 printer with optional CD print slot? Is it really the equipment that makes the artwork? Or to put it differently, why do so many people ask Stephen King what pencil he uses to write his stories?
Now since the dawn of time, people have admired certain objects and projected godly powers onto them because of how they looked, how rare they were or only because of who owned them in the past and I bet the original Xerox machine that Ruscha used for his book would now be worth thousands if not tens of thousands of euro, but would that mean that anything printed on that machine would be as good as his book? Tools may give us the ability to express ourselves, give our hands and minds an extension so that we can create beautiful objects and stories with ease, but they do not give rise to creativity, they merely facilitate it.