HyperScape X – coming soon at Access Space #Sheffield 24 April – 5 June 2014

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I am primarily a visual artist and I made a lot of graphic imagery using various software and techniques. One of my all time favourite painting / drawing programs is the now defunkt SuperPaint by Silicon Beach. Adobe bought them up and killed off all their interesting software but I still have version 3.5 and several Macs old enough to run it.

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Back in the late 90s, I made several long series of hand-drawn images based on a grid. I spent many hours printing minimalist images on an Apple StyleWriter 2500 inkjet printer. I ended up with hundreds of images but no idea how to get them shown. However, one day I managed to pluck up courage to meet the then curator of the Rotherham Arts Centre, David Gilbert. He gave me my first break and in 2000 I showed a selection of images from the series “Colony”, as well as a large composite-printed image entitled “Metro Propane West”. David has moved on to greater things and I really owe him a debt for having the confidence to show my work. I guess I knew I was onto something but really didn’t know what I was doing.

Nowadays I know exactly what I am doing. Not really, but maybe I will when I grow up.

Surprisingly, I don’t have any documentation of the show. It was in my pre-digital days. At least, my pre-digital photography, video and social media.

In 2000/2001 I was working for the Lovebytes digital arts festival, running their media lab. Before that I had been working in corporate IT and, although never a really hardcore programmer, had been programming computers from way back in the 1980s. It was pretty inevitable that I would get into generative / algorithmic art.

It seemed kind of obvious that I could make a generative work out of the still images. Anyone remember Adobe Director? In the days before Flash and later HTML5, Director was the only game in town when it came to multi-media software. I couldn’t afford a licence but Lovebytes had the software and in their media lab I made a “projector” standalone program that faded gradually from on image to another. It worked well and I might still be able to recover the program.

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BUT, back in 2001 I really had no prospect of showing this work on anything more than a 15-inch CRT monitor. Never mind, I have only had to wait 13 years to show it on three 40-inch LED flat screens in 32 bit colour at Full HD resolution.

HyperScape X will be on show at Access Space, Sheffield UK from 24th April to 5th June 2014. Open 11am – 7pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, free entry.

Stand by for more technical info…

Portrait of the artist as a young man (stained by dead inkjets) #bolamat50

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Okay, here’s something I didn’t expect to come out of the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” sessions. These are some contact prints I made using inkjet prints of scanned ID photos from when I was 19 or 20 years old, and graphic images I made 20 years later.

I can’t remember why I printed these, and it doesn’t matter, but I was really struck by the cross-printing between the images. These diptychs will not be part of the show in the Rutland Arms because they feel like they are something else entirely. Four out of six pairs are really successful and I might issue them as a limited edition set of prints. After all, who wouldn’t want my boyish good looks on their wall, especially the distorted and mangled mug-shot of an insecure teenager as a reminder of the dehumanisation of conformity and the inevitability of corruption, age and death? Price on application.

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I am almost up to my quorum of 23 collages for the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” exhibition, and I will be showing between 12 and 14 of them, depending on how it looks. The exhibition will be at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK from 24th April until 5th June 2014. Stay tuned…

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Stained by Dead Inkjets – Collage #6 (title tbc)