Entries of a (computerized) Artist's Diary


By Dr. Rodney Chang, 1986



1. Computer graphics provide a system of image change that has no end. Image can be changed into a variation of art forms that can continually be manipulated into new images that ramify in idea development in different directions form the original picture. The comptuer is a great tool for the artist to study the concept of change.

2. Making art on the computer breaks down the creative decision making process to concrete sequential steps that are documented on disks.

3. Such documentation of the steps of creating helps the individual not only develop as an artist but also helps him to understand his art. He cannot help but be aware of his artistic preferences during the processing of his art formulations.

4. Since the monitor image is composed of particulate dots, trhe artist has minute control of every area of his image. Such pixelation makes the artis more diligent in control of draftsmanship and detail in his work.

5. At least 4 sources of creative potential are involved when creating art on the computer. These are:

a. the hardware - its specific capacities

b. the software - its programmer's vision and intent; it's specific power

c. the user artist - his guiding hand/idea/directing-composing

d. discovered and guided accidents through interaction between machine and artist; work takes tangential developmental directions from the original premeditated artistic intent

e. artificial intelligence (in larger computer systems) - the machine tracks the artist's behavior and "learns" of the artist's style, thereby adapting the program to facilitate expanded potential of the user's specific application of the system

6. When the user is able to subordinate the computer resources to his dominating expressive visual style and ideas, then there is good art.

7. A user's formal art education in traditional art media and art history is important to produce art with a computer. With such a prior education most attempted computer artwork emulate the established standardized look of graphics, a historical precedent based upon commercial, military adn scientific tasks rather than aesthetic application.

8. Without a baseline knowledge of art history, the user-artist's results are more the results of the preconceived imaging of the programmers rather than a personalized digital style.

9. Most computer programs are finite as to the aesthetic output capability. The goal of the user-artist should be to outgrow the program's limits and advance to the next generation of programs.

10. Successful art exists when the viewer responds primarily to the artistic idea and visual experience instead of the computer graphic embodiment of the artist's vision or message.

11. In working with the particulate, the computer artist develops a keen sense of visual order, possibly more so than most traditional painters.

12. The final goal of a successful picture is a satisfactory effect from the distribution of aggregate pixels' colors, value and distribution.

13. Using the computer accelerates material (photons) response to the creative thought process.

14. Subgroups of sequences of graphic commands run automatically and mix randomly with other subgroups in a machine intelligent way to initiate limitless complex visual patterns.

15. The computer is artistic output and the user is editing art critic.

16. Great computer art can be new synthesis of photons with a convincing simulation of conventional art materials.

17. Discovering new visual form can happen from detaching one's own limiting hand from the creative process. While waiting during image processing sequences, the mind is freed from controlling manual detail execution to thinking ahead as to what image transformation is needed next.

18. I acknowledge that I paint differently from the way the computer "paints" my digital images. So the solution is to output as paintings throught the use of others' hands, maintaining faithfulness to the original digital imagery.

19. A satisfactory image is simultaneously a completed work of art as well as raw materials for the next work session. Computer art evolves through a succession of generations.

20. Any segment of a previous image can be dissected out from the original and serve as seeding for the development of a new work of art.

21. Computers create work for artists.

22. Computers are the msot efficient way to analyze color relationships.

23. In itself computer graphics serves merely as any other art medium. It provides material with which to convey an artist's idea or express a feeling.

24. Artists select materials for art making which have in themselves pleasing physical qualities. We like marble, bronze, clay, paint for each's visceral qualities. I like photon light.

25. The digital image can serve as blueprint for subsequent conventional art media. Or it can be the original, the art itself as photonic light.

26. The multiple perspectives included in one digital image far surpass Cubist efforts.

27. The calculations that manipulate visual data distributions can be so complex that results are unpredictable which lead to unexpected interesting results. A seasoned eye capitalizes on such "accidents" and incorporates these into his bag of visual tricks for future works.

28. In image processing the computer becomes the co-artist of the user-artist.

29. One approach to computer art processing is to be parsimonious in the selection of commands and detail modification. Like calligraphy, part of the beauty of the mark mahy be simplicity and degree of control of the pixels.

30. It is easy to be complex visually with the computer but difficult to be beautiful yet simplistic.

31. Advanced systems use antialiasing to smooth out contour lines. Early systems failure of eliminating "jaggies" can accentuate the boxy pixel as a visual icon, representative to the state of the art of computer graphic tools.

32. Criticism of no soul in computer graphics is the fault of the artist, not the machine.

33. It is exciting to do an image that cannot be done again with the same program. It is artistic success to create results with a program not designed to create as such results.

34. Working with such a powerful design tool as the computer moves the artist into areas of aesthetic experimentation he would not otherwise have considered with traditional media.

35. The history of computer graphics is a progressive tendency from mathematical functionalism to natural realism.

36. Melvin Prueitt: "Where does science end and art begin? Or are they both part of the same whole?"

37. A special advantage of computer graphics is the ability to make simultaneous global changes to the image.

38. Image generation on the computer is a sequence of creation-selection cycles possible linked to chaos theory hidden influences.

39. The computer artist gets constant feedback, so he is actually learning about what he is trying to do.

40. Since every artist is a product of his society, even computer art will demonstrate evidence of the cultural derived antecedents.

41. Viewers bring their own context-dependent mental set to decode the message of a digital image.

42. A piece of computer assisted art will be confronted with the same question as any other work of art: How does it respond and contribute to contemporary society, and how does it refelct and challenge human needs and desires? - Frank Dietrich

43. Artificial intelligence techniques are being revised to create a model of qualitative (versus quantitative) logic for artificial creativity or exploration of the aesthetic realm never conceived of before.

44. Computer art carry the birthmark of the systems that created it. As systems become obsolescent, the image become nostalgic.

45. Pixelation may become identified as a computer art from an earlier period within the digital medium.

46. Faded prints of digital imagery can be scanned and have saturation regenerated. However the touched up image will be different since dyes fade at different rates.

47. By crossing platforms and images of different program vintage, imagery can be liberated from canned effects.

48. For the purist-minimalist, one black pixel is enough.

49. Output needs to evolve to muster up a visceral, textural sensuality to graphic imaging. Paper and dyes may not be enough, output to canvas may seem imitative.

50. The best part of computer art making is to let the machine batch process commands all night while the artist gets a good night's rest.