Monday, October 2, 2023 Oct 2, 2023
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Rembrandt On a PC? Computer Art Takes Off

By Patricia Long |

Computers, it seems, are destined to invade every area of life-even the world of art. Growing numbers of Dallas artists are using computers in their work and arguing that their objets d’byte should be recognized as fine art. Their prints, slides, and videos are being shown in local galleries, earning positions in national shows- and programming a new controversy into the local art scene.

For computer artist Ken Loss-Cutler, it’s about time people started taking notice. Loss-Cutler, who runs a computer graphics company called Media of Exchange, has been practicing the art form since 1979. “At that time, I knew of no one else in the area doing the same,” he says. “I existed pretty much in a vacuum.”

Today, the computer art movement in Dallas is picking up speed. Larry Simpson, computer artist and associate professor of art at North Texas State University, is expanding the art department’s computer art program to become the largest of its kind in the state. Hank Macey, owner of Rush Art and Drafting Supplies Inc., recently opened a computer arm of his business, The Rush Imagination Center, which rents computer time to artists and sponsors an annual Computer Graphics Art Exhibit. The Dallas Museum of Art currently shows computer art in its Gateway Gallery.

Not surprisingly, classically trained artists have been slow to accept the new medium. “A lot of fine artists feel threatened by computers,” says Ashley Bellamy. “They’re horrified by the fact that so much can be done [and fear] they’re going to be replaced- But it’s a boon to artists. It’s an expansion of his or her art form. Image-wise, there’s a whole world of new things you can do.” Bellamy was introduced to computer art in 1985 and has been hooked ever since.

Computer artists work on a variety of machines, depending on the look they want in the finished product. Loss-Cutler enjoys dabbling with smaller computers such as Commodore’s Amiga, while Bellamy usually works on larger systems such as the Wasatch-when he can. Cost can be prohibitive on the larger models, with rental time at $40-$115 per hour. Bellamy hopes to alleviate that problem by raising money to buy a system that any artist can use, free of charge. So far, Bellamy has raised $10,000 and has $10,000 to go.

In the meantime, the shows will go on. Bellamy’s computer work was recently accepted in an international art show in Los Angeles and in a computer graphics show in Austria. Loss-Cutler’s work now appears on cable TV’s “Nashville Network” as well as on local cable programs. And the Starck Club has planned a computer art ’”Works in Progress” show in which six computer artists can be seen “in action,” on February 19. What’s next? “Still Life with RobotDriven Digitized Image Processor”?