Alongside drawing old machines I am investigating how to use redundant technologies as a medium for drawing. There are USB attachments that can be used to enable C64 machines improve the range of user interfaces and to increase speed and memory. Also there is a new version of Atari 2600, in a mini and planned full size model, with digital drawing programs and wireless interfaces. I have begun exploring the potential of 8 bit grids as a structure for illustration.
Grids have been a theme for me during my creative career, beginning when studying painting at Winchester School of Art, through exploring knit, and in storyboarding for film. I have a background rooted in the writings of Krauss and Barthes, semiotics, post-structuralism and grids as visual languages. So it is not a surprise to me that grids are significant in these early stages of research. Chess relies on a grid, the visual narrative/comic in response to Computer Chess is a grid. Pixels are a grid and drawing in bytes uses a grid.
Recently I backed a Kickstarter campaign to re-print an early work by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel. I had not been aware of her before, however her colour investigations and descriptions of objects, communicated through a 10×10 grid are fascinating to me (fig.1).
Another practitioner new to me is Lorena Lohr, an American photographer who uses old film point and shoot cameras to document the drab realities of life as she travels around the southern states (fig.2).
Inspired by Noyes Vanderpoel colour grids, I began making colour palettes of Lohr’s photographs. I changed the grid to 8×8, 64 squares, to be in line with drawing in bytes. I continued to make these colour palettes and included works by Agnes Martin and Wayne Thiebaud in the experiment.
The selection of work below demonstrates part of a research enquiry into understanding the nature of drawing in 8 bit. As a research and development project these images might not make sense to a viewer without explanation. This is the start of an investigation where I will begin to make individual 8 bit colour palettes. Substituting four selected colours from these initial palettes for CYMK then combining the four to create 8 then 16 then 32 and maybe 64 colours.
I am in the midst of setting up a Commodore 64 console with old TV screen and have acquired a copy of original C64 drawing software and a Trojan screen drawing pen. Next I will be beginning an experimental journey into 8 bit drawing.
64 square (8×8) colour palettes based on the photographs of Lorena Lohr.
64 square (8×8) colour palettes based on the paintings and drawings of Agnes Martin.
64 square (8×8) colour palettes based on the paintings of Wayne Theibauld