Byte Gallery. (computer art) John J. Anderson.
Pixels, if you will. You're traveling through another dimension. A dimension of sight and of mind. A dimension not of brushes and oils, but of light pens and graphic tablets. At the signpost just ahead: a new form of artistic expression. A twilight zone, if you will, of artists and programmers, with the artists gaining fast.
The resulting works continue to improve, in style as well as sophistication. More artists have begun to think about the ways computers can create art.
Nor does it take a barrel of money to create great graphics anymore. All it takes is a machine like the Apple or Atari or Commodore 64, some graphics software, and an input peripheral. If you have a color printer or plotter, a whole new realm opens to you, but you may simply choose to pipe your final output to a TV screen and leave it at that.
If our magazine could show movies, what comes up ahead wouldn't be limited to mere stills. Next month a review will appear of Movie Maker for the Atari, with which the user can create animated images. In the July 1983 issue of Creative, we reviewed The Graphics Solution, a similar program for the Apple micro, though it is a bit more complex. Both products offer an animation potential, which would otherwise require a good grasp on machine language, to the interested non-programmer.
In the realm of still graphics, artists are discovering that microcomputer generated images need not be limited to the cliches we have grown so weary of seeing. They are developing individual styles; styles that transcend the screens of printouts on which the works appear. Speaking as folks who have seen enough Lissajous curves to last a lifetime, we are overjoyed at this turn of events.
I don't consider myself any sort of computer artist, but I do know what I like, and I like the pictures that follow. All of them were generated on Apple, Commodore, or IBM computers with inexpensive graphics packages. We could have shown you works born of more sophisticated systems, but the idea here is to show off the lower end of the spectrum. Bill Bramble
Bill Bramble works with an Apple and a KoalaPad, among other packages. His work shows an emergent and humor-filled style all his own. Girl Watchers is a good example of the playfulness of his vision, although I think I have seen those very characters on the corner of Washington Square and University Place.
Pre-Nova shows his ability with the human figure, and is highly expressive, while evoking a strong feeling of three-dimensionality. Galaxy Girl and Equinox No.1 indicate his mastery of the medium of the color printer. Color printers such as the IDS or the Transtar 315 have distinct and peculiar limitations, and I have been disappointed with some of my results with them. Bill seems to understand how to make those limitations work for him. Galaxy Girl has a clearly new wave feeling about it, a look which permeates much of Bill's work. Equinox No. 1 is the best original work I have seen which was designed specifically to be displayed as a color printout. Its feeling of movement manages to convey the emotions of physical exertion. Peter Joselow
Peter Joselow also uses an Apple, and has been experimenting with the Double-Stuff system for the IIe. He used the Doublestuff board to create the Times Square scene, which speaks for itself. The double hi-res capability of the Apple IIe transforms the Apple into a wholly new graphics machine. We look forward to seeing more from Peter as well as more Apple double hi-res stuff soon. PaintPic
The PaintPic system for the Commodore 64 comes to us all the way from New Zealand, and is a very capable package. The pictures GIGO, Storm on the Range, and Room, came along with the demo package we received, but unfortunately had no artist's credit accompanying them. The only data we have are the mysterious initials D.J.R. to clue us in.
GIGO looks quite a bit like the main corridor of Creative Computing during renovation of the building. Room is just about the nicest composition I have seen on the C-64 to date. Mike Sullivan
Mike Sullivan is a talented young artist currently working with ISM, the firm that markets the Fun with Art package through Epyx for all machines mentioned above. The pictures reproduced here were composed on an IBM PC. Mike has a sure and solid style, and a good grasp of the care and feeding of hi-res pixels. His portraiture is reminiscent of Saul Bernstein.
As for the future, well it is quite bright. Look for plotters to become more and more involved in artists' work, and software that allows for nested levels of detail. The Robographics CAD-1 system is such a package.
Look also for the composition of moving images to become more prevalent. The art gallery of tomorrow is a flat screen TV on your wall. Static images are fine, but perhaps best left to DaVinci and Raphael. Dynamic art is a natural for the computer--whether in real-time animation or the single-frame variety.
Look also for the trend to continue to add computer images to music video: another natural wedding. You might even imaging using your computer to create your own music, then creating the animated video to accompany it.
As I have asserted many times and in many forms, a (possible the) great advantage of computer art is its ability to make you into the artist. If you have some original work that you think we should see, send it in. You may just make the next show in the Byte Gallery.
Pictures, if you will!