Re: Trading Places/Time Travel

On: Wed, 7 Jul 1993 21:12:02 CDT
> Well, my recommendation is for you to come up with a better topic.

OK, I suggest we talk about how to keep the contemporary arts going instead of
romanticizing about the past. I really think that many of the artists we
think of today were pretty disagreeable in their everyday lives, Impressionists
and anyone living on a trust fund excepted.

> On Mon, 5 Jul 1993 15:57:33 -0700 Stewart Dickson said:
> >I have driven myself into debt
> >after art projects which never paid off, that has taken years to recover
> >from.
> >My work has been met with open hostility from the arts community.
> What is your work? I can't remember if you said before.

What I was referring to here was a project which I thought was rather clever
at the time. I got into a local juried art show (Oak Brook (Illinois)
Promenade, 1986) on the basis of a compter-rendered fraud - Slides of
Wavefront Advanced VIsualizer renderings of sculptures I had modeled in the
computer. The slides were described as actual sculpture. I had arranged in
advance with a collaborator, Randy Kohl, operator of a computer-interfaced
milling machine in Madison, Wisconsin, how the sculptures would be made.

When my virtual sculptures were accepted in the show, I had to quickly render
them actual. I wrote myself a $1000 electronic signature loan via Am-EX
Quick Cash to pay for Randy's materials (~100 lbs. of solid aluminum) and
machine time. Since the Oak Brook show was known for sales, this is what I
was banking on.

The sculptures turned out (in time for the show!) to be a remarkably accurate
concretization of the computer-rendered prediction. The main difference was
that the texture applied to the surface by the milling machine was not exactly
what the computer had rendered, but the form and other light effects on the
surfaces were the same.

The sculptures were priced to sell, perhaps too low? The aesthetics must have
been wrong. They were austere machine forms, like architectural motifs in
"Bladerunner" or similar genre. A gallery owner I was talking to at the time
said something to the effect that they were very "macho" pieces. I certainly
saw worse pieces on Oak Brook corporate lawns at the time!

This episode plus being audited by the IRS the following year (the old
deducting living expenses for operating a business from home - the typical
artist's nightmare) were what did it for me financially.

> >My work has been met with open hostility from the arts community.

I was rejected from gallery after gallery in Chicago. I was met by a wall of
resistance by Joan Truckenbrod's little clique at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago and the Art Department at Northern Illinois University.
Tom DeFanti (Electronic Visualization Laboratory, Department of Electrical
Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago) has remained a friend and has
helped me with an ACM/SIGGRAPH Grant two years ago. Yet I have still been
rejected by every SIGGRAPH Art Show Committee for eight years running!

I recently made an experimental attempt to return to academia this year and
was rejected outright by four of the MFA programs I applied to. At one place I
know I had more than one strong ally, but there was a stronger, opposing
philosophical camp in power there.

> >Sometimes I feel like I'm about to break a
> >blood vessel!
> Too late. I think it's already happened.

Well where does this leave me? What would you have me do?

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