David Hylton

Describe your field. Why are you interested in Computer Art/ Computer Graphics and what (event, need, idea, hope, obstacle) caused your involvement? Summarize your line of development (the essence of your input to the field) in relation to concurrent technology.

Computer art fascinates me because of the limitless creative possibilities it provides. The catalyst for my involvement in computer art was teaching university-level graphic design courses. As I delved into the programs, I discovered the computer could be applied to not only producing commercial art but also to developing conceptual fine art pieces. My exploration of the computer as a tool for my students inspired me to go beyond the fundamentals of the programs, resulting in my creating painterly expressionistic artwork. My input to the field is to create artwork that marries technology with traditional fine art techniques.

Does the computer allow you to think visually about some topic or process in new ways? How has this influenced your work? Describe your ultimate accomplishment.

The computer provides a freeing influence upon my artwork as the technology allows for constant experimentation and revision.  As a result, my artwork has grown increasingly complex in both form and concept.  My ultimate accomplishment is successfully applying technology to creating fine art pieces that explore the themes of transformation and transcendence.

Has the field of computer art and graphics progressed in the ways that you expected? What has surprised you? What do you like about its progress and what do you wish had happened differently? What do you think the future holds for visual computing in science/art? Please make some predictions or wish lists for the near- and long-term future.

When computer graphics software became widely accessible in the 1980s it was apparent the products would evolve beyond producing static imagery.  What is surprising is the astonishing speed with which the technology has evolved and revolutionized the fields of commercial artwork and entertainment.  The technology allows artists to produce work of a magical quality with no hint of its digital infrastructure.  As motion graphics has been rightly embraced, I believe there is still a critical place for digital prints.  The future of computer art promises ever-greater accessibility and affordability which will democratize the creation of computer art.  Trends are also leading toward greater portability and time shifting of access to artwork. The lines between entertainment and fine art have blurred and the fields will continue to converge.  Computer technology will encourage the increasing integration of art into everyday life through such devices as cell phones, computer monitors and flat screen televisions.  I would like computer artwork to continue gaining stature and respect within the world of fine art.  The Whitney Museum of Art’s “Bitstreams” exhibition is an example of a preeminent institution showcasing digital artwork.  In addition, I would like the computer to be accepted as a tool that artists may choose and is as accepted as such media as paint or marble.

Describe your dream environment for enhancing your project ideas. What are your preferred tools for creating and how do they work? What tools (hardware/software) you have used initially had the strongest impact on your work?

My dream environment for enhancing project ideas would be constant travel to experience new places, cultures and people. My artwork thrives when I have vivid life experiences from which I can draw. My preferred tools are a combination of fine art and technological techniques. My work incorporates traditional applications of drawing, painting and photographic techniques which I enhance through the use of technology.  My background in traditional fine art provided a solid foundation in art history, composition and color usage from which I can build sophisticated digital imagery.  Photoshop software used in combination with a Cannon digital camera, Hewlett-Packard scanner and Macintosh computer have had the strongest impact on my work.

Describe how you think specific advancements in technology, (such as wireframe, hidden line removal, scanner, laser, HTML, Java applets, or any other advancement), determined the way the approaches to creating art/graphics evolved?

Advancements in speed and memory storage have had an enormous impact upon my work when working with dense, multi-layered files. Advancements in scanning, digital camera resolution/file storage, increasingly intuitive software programs and printing have been highly beneficial to both commercial and fine artists.

How would you characterize the milestones (every ten years) in the development of computer technology? Which ones were most influential in art/graphics?

In 1976 the development of the Apple I computer by Steve Wozniak was a milestone in computer technology that would usher in the development of computer graphics software.  The first Macintosh computer was then sold in 1984.  Adobe Photoshop software, a program of choice among many computer artists, was introduced in 1988.  Since the start of the new millennium, the emergence of digital cameras has been a profound influence upon computer artists.

Which persons would you indicate as the pioneers in the particular areas/stages in which decade?

Pioneers in computer art include the following:  Ben Laposky -- use of oscilloscopes to display waveforms which were photographed as artwork (1950); Charles Csuri -- creation of seminal computer artwork (1963); Naim June Park – solo exhibition “Electronic Art” at Galleria Bonino in New York; Lawrence Gartel – influential experiments in computer artwork (1975); and April Greiman – successful application of computer technololgy to producing graphic design (1980’s).