I have worked digitally
since the very earliest days of the personal computer. Sculptors were some of the first artists to see the potential in the computer as a tool for creative work. Just as some sportspeople need raquets and bats while others are content with using their unaided hands and feet, sculptors need tools. As a breed, sculptors have an affinity for tools -- from chisels to lathes and chainsaws. For many years I have helped organize both national and international conferences for sculptors who use the computer. Prior to embarking on the work presented here, I was comfortable and confident when seated at the computer. It became the tool through which these images were reached.
The computer is beginning to feel for me like a pencil,
that wonderful exemplar of tool that is a natural and invisible extension of the hand. It was not
always so. I was just as guilty of producing superficial work as many of the artists I met as the organizer of technology-related events. Fascination with the
capabilities of the computer produces work of a "gee-whiz, look what I can do"
nature. Artists can be deflected from the purpose of art to reflect and explain our universe by losing themselves in technical prowess. The key is to see
the computer as a tool, sometimes appropriate to use, sometimes not.
We have all seen bad art. The problem with the computer is that it is so powerful and so appealing that bad computer art really IS bad. It is so easy to think
that one has talent when a tool is apparently so easy to use, at least to achieve a "gee-whiz" effect. It is true that you can press a button and something happens
that would take you a week to achieve otherwise. But it is interesting to note that despite the speed with which I can achieve an effect, the finished work still takes
me days of very intense work to accomplish. You see, unfortunately, there
is no judgement button -- and that is what takes the time and distinguishes the good from the bad.
This speed and ease of achieving an effect leads to misconceptions akin to that of
the man who approaches a farmer after he has watched him plough a field and says: "Ah, I see how it's done now -- it's not YOU who does the work, it's the tractor!"
Work is produced on or with the computer, it is not produced by the computer. My prints could only have been produced on the computer, but my concern is to reflect my sense of the land and man's place on it
, not to boast of a technical ability.