The Art of Rodney Chang or Pygoya
Pygoya's Art - Past, Present and Future

Aesthetic Historical Significance

By Robert Wren, arts writer



Popular disco music and culture of the 1970-80's seems unrelated to digital art and fine arts. Yet love for pulsating energy and light shows of the dance club scene made for smooth transition from paint on canvas to computer monitor display when the latter became available as personal computer systems. In fact before the PC's arrival in the mid 1980's, Rodney Chang, known around town as the dancing Disco Doc, had a "Disco Paintings" exhibition at The House of Art Gallery in Honolulu (1980) - complete with DJ spinning disco tunes at the art reception.

In fact even to this day Rodney Chang, or Pygoya on the Web, creates works energized with rhythmic flows of form, color and syncopation of light in normal perception. So Disco Lives! within the confines of a Neo-Expressionistic formal background that the artist selects as his perfered style of personal creative expression.

Chang's Da Waiting Room ("da" is Hawaiian pidgin for "the") was constructed in 1979 with the intent of the realization of an art installation, then an important art form of the Post-Modernism movement. Compositional elements included of course disco music, environment but in the alternative space of a dental clinic, the inherent situation's anxiety in anticipation of oral pain, the artist's own flair for interior design, his own art as room decoration, a real disc jockey (DJ) playing the music, the patients and visitors and the doctor or Disco Doc -simultaneously perceived as a bizarre character and as renown national celebrity (Real People Show, NBC TV, 1979-80)

The overwhelming power of the disco environment assisted the transition of making art objects to creating image visualizations within the ethereal space of electrons. For a computer artist exhibiting printouts and photographs as "output" tangibles to show and sell, the Internet provided the next logical and quantum leap to complete dematerialization of his work. On this new frontier where art can be experienced simultaneously around the planet in real time, without the costs and crutches of mat, frame, nail and wall, the esthetic effect is immediate in the mind's eye of the spectator, without the assistance of any conventional art media. The visitor does not have to come to see the art, the art instead, on command, comes into the viewer's daily life.

A crucial element that cannot be easily overlooked is the artist's professional training in psychology, specifically visual perception, developmental art psychology and psychological theories and models on wellness. In this age of art material and resource reconstitution after Post-Modernism, as expounded by James Mann, Curator of the Las Vegas Art Museum and art critic, Pygoya is a likely candidate to be identified with this new movement for the Internet. "Vandalizing" everything from disco dance and music, art installation, performance art, Conceptualism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, painting, sculpture, digital technologies, the field of psychology and now virtual Web esthetic collaborative experients with other artists and audience through multimedia and virtual reality, Pygoya can truely be indentified as an artist creating Art after Post-Modernism (Mann, 1997) on the Internet, with one foot in virtual reality and the other solidly planted in the history of art on the planet.

Can coexisting as artist in such a dual reality be schismatic? "Art" is defined by art critic James Mann in the essay, What is Art? The Human Spirit, as the manisfestation of the human spirit through the inevitable distortion of physical reality - in all "art" of all eras and cultures. As such, the esthetic content or "art" of Pygoya's offline (physcial world domain) "early computer paintings" (also termed "cyberpaintings" or "paint outs") and now his online virtual reality galleries of "cyberart" provide a cohesive digital seam that binds together the apparently disparate realities into a singular human experience for the new world of high technology.


Back to Pygoya Webmuseum of Cyberart


"Under the Mirrored Ball," dedicated to Disco Doc, by  Jon "JJ" Jasinski, Kihei, Maui
December 2004