A native Detroiter, I awoke to the possibilities while attending a state university in Detroit. I began creating responsive, content laden kinetic sculpture in the 1960's. Before I graduated in 1965 with a M.F.A., I was blessed with a day job to which I gratefully clung for thirty-eight years, teaching the boomers and their kids at a local community college.
It was after hours in 1964, in the basement of the physics department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, that I first laid eyes on a computer that was connected to what would become the internet. My mind got boggled again by its reality. A fellow art student from school was working there with a team on a secret project for the U.S. Defense Department, (DARPA?). I was told to come to the backdoor of the physics building after 9:30 PM - it would be unlocked - and go down the hall - enter the second door on the left.
So much for government security.
There I found myself in the rear of a large warm low-ceilinged room packed with humming rows of gray refrigerator size cabinets, lights blinking, tape spooling. My friend led me to a console - a small round table with a nine inch cathode readout tube embedded in its surface. several young men were gathered around intently watching small intensely glowing phosphor shapes. The shapes were circling a small bright spinning asterisk in the center. He whispered that the young technician hunched over the console was playing a game called "SPACE WAR!" with a guy online in Berkeley - not Michigan, California!
The techie had earned the right thru playoffs to challenge the Berkeley player. Both players keyboards controlled a single little triangular space craft that fired "photon torpedoes" into the gravitational tug of the asterisk "sun." They signaled each other with a beep that they were ready. The match was on. The California ace immediately laid a barrage of missiles that were whipped around by the sun's gravity and quickly dispatched his Ann Arbor opponent. It was over in seconds.
Right there it hit me. Electronic games and electronic warfare were birthed together.
The web is a result of the some of the potential that was present in the mix of those cross-country phone lines, the glowing blue phosphor tube and that kid in Ann Arbor matching skill with the fellow in Berkeley.
I soon discovered the joy of TTL logic devices and the graphic expression of printed circuit boards. My first choice for a programming language became solder.
When The WWW came along, we early adopters argued about not letting it fall into the hands of commercial interests. Pretty funny, huh? We wanted it all to ourselves.
It became obvious to me that the web and HTML was perfect for
telling illustrated stories. Selling art? Not so
I have had a web presence since 1995. My site now has over 360 screens. I have sold exactly one very small artwork to a stranger who happened to find it on my site. It's great for me when people ask what kind of art I do. I dont even try. I just give them the URL.
I soon discovered the joy of TTL logic devices and the graphic expression of printed circuit boards. My first choice for a programming language became solder. In 1976 I participated in a week long workshop by Ken Knowlton and in 1978 began work on the Century of Light, the first large public sculpture to employ a microprocessor (6502) in its operation.
Generally, my artworks are interactive performing sculptures that
on a combination of electronic logic and environmental stimuli to
behaviors of movement, sound, light, or other phenomena. They often
creatures or personages. I've been called a surrealist.
More self portraits