Artist Statement December 1983
My work does not derive from science per say, but rather is dependent on a technology that was originally developed for scientific purposes. The technology is computer graphics, a development of computer science, that had its beginning in aerospace research. This same technology was further developed by the military for surveillance and by industry for use in designing and manufacturing airplanes, automobiles, etc. Later the textile and printing industries developed graphics techniques for their specific applications and now these tools have become available on a broader scale, to artists. A few artists were involved with this technology at the very beginning stages, but it was not until the development, by Alvy Ray Smith, in 1979 at the New York Institute of Technology, of a user friendly, interactive color paint system, that I became involved in using computer graphics technology to create my images.
Until that time I was primarily using pigmented paint mediums to make paintings. Frustrated by the limitations of physical mediums and believing that the leading artists of each generation were using, or in the least aware of, the latest technology in their fields, I set out to find out what the latest technology was for the visual arts. I was familiar with electronic music and thought there would be a counterpart for visual composition. I was not interested in moving images and so did not consider film or video.
From the second I first used a paint system, I knew I had found the tool that would best serve my sensibilities. It was direct, controllable and seemingly infinite in its capabilities. My career since that time, in 1979, at the New York Institute of Technology is the record of my explorations in this new medium, the development of computer graphics technology and its applications in the production, or fabrication of art works in many other mediums.
In addition to making art I have felt compelled to promote the field in general by organizing and mounting the first professional art shows for SIGGRAPH, public talks and presentations, university teaching at New York University, the Pratt Center for Computer Graphics and starting in the fall of 1984, the School of Visual Arts, in New York City. In June 1984 Abbeville Press will release, Art in the Computer Age, an art book which I am co-editing with Cynthia Goodman. ( Updated information- I withdrew from this book project to create and direct the Graduate Program in Computer Art at the School of Visual Arts and Dr. Goodman wrote the book with Abbeville Press)
My interest in physical reality, as distinguished from movies and video, led me to architecture. It is in this arena that I hope to make the best use of computer graphics for designing and previewing large scale human environments, for which I will then have tiles, carpets, murals, etc. fabricated.