Thursday 6 October 3:30-6:00
THANK YOU, STEVE JOBS
Another day of splendid weather, but an odd new world without Steve Jobs in it. I am so grateful for my former life as a digital artist and MacEvangelist. I got to participate in the computer revolution, which was a technological wave crashing over the whole world, with some of us zipping across the face of it. It was a privilege to observe Steve Jobs evolving into a hero of the age. Things that were impossible dreams just a few years ago are now unconscious extensions of our lives, like this ability to draw by hand, scan it, write about it, and share it that night. Sharing is what Macintosh was always all about. A pirate flag flew over the buildings at Apple when it was being developed; the software never liked limitations, didn’t perform well when the money boys had put in copy protection, Shareware was a Macintosh concept. Sharing information globally. My best friend recently participated in the Libyan Revolution, Twittering to the world after reaching behind the lines from a place where the hackers and murderers could not get to her. Instant communication, unlimited information at our fingertips, and a painting of my little cat Rex, incorporating an entire digital studio, done onscreen in 1993 in about ten minutes, and preserved, glowing, to this day. I’ve given this drawing away a hundred times, sent it all over the world for years, and I still have it. And every copy is exactly the same as the very first one. Computer art, the gift that keeps on giving, having my cake and eating it too. All possible because of Steve Jobs. What a legacy.
No matter what goes on in the world I have to keep drawing. Today I got down to the Boukoleon at 3:30 and picked up the trash. It took five minutes and made me feel better. I finished off the lines for the far right side of the drawing in about twenty minutes. Moved to the other side, left of the Left Portal. Left of the left, story of my life. Immediately caught a near-disaster and switched to pencil. I was blocking out the big marble support for the vanished balcony and about to draw everything too small. Measured everything by units and saved it. I do this by holding up a pencil or pen in front of the object in question– in this case, the hole in the wall with the kitten in it– and holding my thumbnail to the edge of where it comes on the pencil. I move the pencil and thumbnail to another part of subject, in this case the top of the portal next to it. What a shock: All that wonderful detail: the arch-topped hole in the wall, the bush, the support, the chunks of desiccated marble– it’s all about twice the size I thought it was. It just looks small because it’s surrounded by bigger stuff. When I was sure the size was right, I went back to the pen. The kitten in the hole is real, impossibly cute as it is. The little head popped up right before my eyes.
Here’s what the drawing looks like now.
Notice the fine detail on this scan, the exact copy of the hand-drawn kitten. And up top, look at the beautiful wash tones in that digital painting of Rex, done in Painter on a Mac in 1993. Here’s another cat drawing, this one done in 1985, with a mouse and MacPaint. Steve Jobs is everywhere. The first tiger took awhile to draw in that earth-moving, groundbreaking pixel-shoving MacPaint, but I was able to option-drag it into four tigers. This was revolutionary! Nothing remotely like this had ever been possible.
A world of possibilities opened up, so intriguing and entrancing that I spent the next fifteen years like this:
THANK YOU, STEVE JOBS!! This is my alter ego, Fred Nerd, back in 1985 in his virtual trance. I worked nights for years and years. Finally, in honor of Steve Jobs, here’s a page from the first underground comic done on a computer, Astral Byte, created in 1986 for the MacUnderground, a precursor to the Internet. It took a week to draw, onscreen with a mouse in SuperPaint, and all the copy was typed in Helvetica and augmented and crawled by hand. Back then we lived pretty much hand-to-mouse. Forgive me, it’s late. Anyway, Jobs ushered in a whole new world, and here’s a little piece of what it looked like back then.
(above) Rex at Sundown ©1996, Boukoleon Portals ©2011, Running Tigers ©1985, Fred Nerd ©1986, On Sale Everywhere © 1986 by Trici Venola