Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Internet 1993

In 1993 I was introduced, through a series of illustration jobs for a tech magazine, to something called The Internet. It was this new thing which would unite all the computers we were already using to a giant bulletin board where we would share all sorts of friendships and conversations and we would be able to look up anything we wanted to learn about. This sounded like science fiction or even magic to me but they were paying me to illustrate it so I did the art. I envisioned the "Internet" as the magical dimensions that the Marvel character "Doctor Strange" entered, first envisioned by the amazing graphic artist Steve Ditko. My imitation (just far enough away from copyright) sorcerer types (or casts spells) on a keyboard as he emerges into the Internet World. In this psychedelic unreality are the things already found on the 1993 internet: WAIS, FTP, and Archie, which I believe were original information search and acquisition engines, as well as e-mail and "Usenet," which featured readable online chat and primal journal postings. The "Gophers" made connections between computers that were melting like Dali's limp watches. 

This is just before the explosion of the "World Wide Web," which had already been invented and was on its way to changing the "real" world. Also, I was already using digital art to enhance my illustrations. The limp computers and typeface words in this image were done on CorelDraw, and printed on a primitive color printer known as a "PaintJet." I still remember the thrill I experienced when I printed out my first full-color digital illustration image. My, how far we've come. Or maybe not.

"Astral Net" is watercolor and computer-printout collage on illustration board, 8 12" x 11", August 1993.

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