I’m not sure whether I count as an early adopter of the digital. My first encounter took place in the early nineties when a lovely chap called Piers Williams showed me his then state of the art set up at Yorkshire Artspace and with his help we made a piece of work entitled Papers Made, Papers Painted. In this work a photograph of my Grandfather making paper in the late 1940’s was adapted to show me as a a forty year old watching him over his shoulder. When we (or Piers to be accurate) completed the transformation it seemed pretty much like magic. A year or so later and I’m at the University of Derby where the Art School was enthusiastically embracing the rapid advances of Apple Mac. Coming from a PC interface to the Mac brought alive an interest in utilising the digital that lasted from 1996 for more than a decade and that I’ve documented in my book Extracting Digits.
I’ve always treated it in a cavalier manner…unless I’m making works that are exclusively photographic (another story). And nowadays if I use it at all its to do what I’m doing here…try out ‘what if’ scenarios for paintings that are in progress. But I imagine that, without my thinking too hard about it, some kind of influence is exerted over what subsequently happens in the painting process when I do fiddle about in this way. Of course there are plenty of painters out there nowadays house digital means to generated develop the painting process right from the get go.
I am uncomfortable about that, though for the life of me I can’t say why!