|Above: VIKTOR KOEN, USA Damsel 6.
From The Digital Hall of Fame Art Collection.
|Apple Creative Meeting in Stockholm on November 30, 1995 was an exciting day full of seminars about the latest developments in art, design, multimedia, interactivity, Internet and future visions.
Around 300 people had gathered inside the Palladium Theater in downtown Stockholm to listen to San Francisco-based photographer John Lund, Painter programmer Mark Zimmer, German illustrator Udo Gauss, and French CD-Rom developer Ayshe Farman-Farmaian and many others.
The Apple Creative Meeting also saw the official announcement of the Digital Hall of Fame art collection. Apple had asked us to invite artists for the meeting, and also expressed a wish for an art gallery. We consulted our friend Ake Nordgren of Avanti Colorstudio, and he promised to sponsor the gallery with 10 Iris prints. The first collection included US veteran digital artists Diane Fenster, Glenn Mitsui, and Eric Adigard.
A few months later the Grafex organization offered us quite a large space at their January show in Stockholm, to display the DHOF art gallery, and a collection of more than 25 artworks were presented, now including photographer Lee Varis, illustrator Javier Roca and Japanese artist Kaizu.
During Macworld Tokyo 1996, Ichiro Hirose, President of Agosto Inc., launched the Digital Creators Night concept a digital community party with music and live art performances. French EFX editor Claude Szwimer visited Tokyo, found the concept interesting, and brought it to Europe.
In September 1996, at Le Réservoir restaurant in Paris, the first European Digital Creators Night was launched with live rock music, a Greek buffet, and digital painting, featuring some of the worlds finest digital artists, such as Tokyo-based Hiroshi Yoshii, French multimedia artist Jean-Luc Touillon, and British illustrator Fiona Hawthorne among others. EFX/DHOF also had a chance to participate, and I had assembled a Digital Hall of Fame Slide Show with more than 200 images from our growing art collection.
The first real DHOF Gallery was published in EFX 16 in the summer of 1996, featuring Diane Fensters Canto Series. In EFX 17, Seattle-based graphic designer Jeff Brice showed complex images from his Information Landscape book, and in EFX 18, we presented the Unique Editions group of American female artists Dorothy Krause, Judith Moncrieff, Helen Golden, Bonny Lhotka and Karin Schminke.
We could now also officially announce the DHOF statement: To spread the digital message worldwide and allow digital artists more exposure.
1997 started with The Second Apple Creative Meeting in Stockholm with international artists/speakers such as Jim Ludtke, portrayal artist Jeremy Sutton and Paris-based graphic designer Helena Ichbiah, and with the DHOF art collection featuring Jim Ludtkes famous Doctor Virus image.
A few months later, at the Digital Creators Night at the New Otani Hotel in Makuhari, Tokyo, I was invited to perform live on stage, using Live Pictures huge realtime brushes, and getting a hint of what the DCN concept was rock music, colors, lights, and pixel explosions.
This first trip to Japan was a dream come true, and I met with many extraordinary artists, one being Susumu Endo, who was our Digital Hall of Fame artist in EFX number 19, in the summer of 97.
That summer also took us to Italy and the 36 Ore di Creatività event in Milan. Arranged by Italian distributor Modo, and sponsored by Adobe, Apple and Macromedia, it was a great 36-hour manifestation of digital art and design. Seminars and product shows in the day, and in the evening partytime with the Digital Creators Night and the Digital Hall of Fame art exhibition.
International DHOF artists, such as Jeremy Sutton, Fiona Hawthorne, Eric Valric, Marek Doszla and Jean-Luc Touillon, joined local digital colleagues Alberto Ciocia, Roberto Bertolini and Georgio Bottino for informal meetings exchanging ideas and showing their portfolios.
The Digital Art Community was growing... while websites were being overloaded with trash... and The Randomizer said: Digital Junk is essentially an extravagant luxury,
At the end of the year, we were invited to the Gothenburg Photo Fair, where we shared a big floor space with Avanti Colorstudio. 40 pieces were displayed in the DHOF exhibition, among them David G. Ho and many exciting images by Japanese artists, such as Raita Naka, Masaru Watanabe, Sumio Yumita, and Nobuhiro Shibayama.
The art published in EFX has been of a very high quality, said Åke Nordgren, head of Avanti Colorstudio. In order to keep it high, the DHOF has been printed on Arches paper, the finest watercolor paper, by an IRIS printer. The DHOF is a way for us to spread the digital message, an excellent way for artists to have their art showcased worldwide, and its a way for us to evaluate new technology and present todays output facilities.
At the end of the 90s, the digital art and design scene was rapidly growing, with technique conferences, creative meetings, digital happenings and parties. How-to secrets and tips and tricks columns were everywhere in the trade press. Software companies had spent a few years cranking out all kinds of graphic software, from weird painting programs to 3D applications and virtual reality simulators. They had also spent a lot of money on trade shows and seminar meetings. Artists were more than lucky, and kept creating art like never before, and we received a lot of contributions to the EFX Open Art Gallery section, which then led to more entries to the DHOF collection.
Our cooperation with Japanese Step-By-Step magazine, published by Ichiro Hirose of Agosto Inc., resulted in another invitation to Tokyo Macworld Expo. This time with a selection of 10 DHOF artworks.
The Macworld Expo, February 1998, included a Technique Conference, presented by IDG and Step-By-Step magazine and titled Meet The Creators, featuring artists like Hiroshi Yoshii, Ron Chan, Terry Wakayama, and Naomi Enami. This time we had the opportunity to be there together, Åke Nordgren and myself, and we made many new contacts among the Japanese art community.
A few months later, in May, we had to split though. Åke Nordgren went to IMAGE 98, the European Art & Framing Fair in Amsterdam for a meeting with IAFADP, the International Association of Fine Art Digital Printmakers, while I went on the road with Meet The Creators Southern Europe Tour, including three Digital Creators Night parties in Barcelona, Paris and Milan, where the DHOF art collection was on display at the Italian event.
The IAFADP meeting discussed how to market Giclée, a name which, especially in the US, had given digital fine art printing a name, a face, and a quality standard. Other topics were of course Equipments, Inks & Papers and Years of Print Display Before Noticeable Fading Occurs by Wilhelm Imaging Research.
Meanwhile, Claude Szwimer had assembled numerous sponsors for a spectacular southern Europe tour. Among the artists engaged in this event were Jeremy Sutton, Kathy Hamon, Jean-Luc Touillon, Alice Schwab, Maria Mercedes, Fiona Hawthorne and her husband, actor Colin Salmon.
In Milan, like last years event, Modo and Pico were organizing and the Digital Hall of Fame were beautifully mounted on moveable display walls in the large exhibit area.
1998 was a good year. We were invited to sketch up a concept for an annual 3D show in Sweden, and together with Stefan Larsson, Jimmy Hassel and Torbjörn Jörgensen, I was lucky to launch the 3D Festival in Malmö, in October 1998. And I was even more lucky to be able to present a DHOF show including many 3D artists, such as Japanese Strata experts Hiroshi Kunoh and Ken Dava, Ray Dream wizard John B. Crane, and Shade guru Toru Kosaka.
The 3D Festival made us reach new markets and new artists, often younger people interested in games and virtual worlds. But the real interesting things happened in the big animation studios and the film industry. We met with people from Disney, Pixar, Digital Domain, and artists using high-end software such as LightWave, Maya and Softimage.
The DHOF was now ready for new media, and we started adding motion graphics, animated art and video clips to our exhibition.
For The 2nd 3D Festival, in October 1999, an Award Ceremony was announced, and the Digital Hall of Fame Award for Excellence in Digital Art was billed as one special category, covering an integrated digital concept of both 2D, 3D, multimedia and video. Call for Entries were published in EFX.
But as 1999 went into a beautiful springtime, the DHOF art exhibition was invited to the CGIX show in Barcelona in February, and in March to the opening of Annexet Gallery in the city of Växjö in Sweden. On both these occasions, we participated in seminar activities and workshops. 36 Giclée Fine Art prints were exhibited in Paula de Congressos in Barcelona between February 3-6th, including many female artists such as Helen Golden, Katerina Mistal, Katrin Eismann, Bonny Lhotka, Mariann Eklund and Diane Fenster.
For the 2nd 3D Festival, in October 1999, Åke Nordgren brought twenty big unpolished iron plates down to Slakthuset in Malmö. Plates were hanged from the ceiling with wires, and on the metal plates the Giclée prints were mounted with 4 clips attached to the plate using magnets. It was very sophisticated.
The exhibition this year featured 3D artists such as Swedish artist Peter Aversten, New Zealand-based Kano, and US artists Bill Ellsworth, John B Crane, Muriel Magenta and Bill Fleming. In addition, myself and Andreas Lindholm had several image samples from the Metalheart book in progress. The Digital Atelier (former Unique Edition) showed a printing process called Lenticular Printing which allows the artist to add three-dimensional depth to two-dimensional images through the use of lenticular lenses.
The nominees for the first DHOF Award were Mats Persson, Terry Wakayama, Toru Kosaka, Sin Takahashi and Nubuo Takahashi. And the Digital Hero trophy was given to Japanese 3D artist Sin Takahashi for his Digital Solution video.
The 3D Festival also included an interactive discussion forum called the Masterclasses, a concept that aimed for more in-depth discussions around certain 3D graphics topics. We had a chance to participate in of panel discussions, How Do We Define the Digital Image?, together with 3D sculptor Dan Platt and Isaac Kerlow from Walt Disney Company.
Isaac Kerlow pointed out that art and technology are now getting closer and closer, and digital artists benefit from all the great innovations much faster, while Åke Nordgren gave examples of how high-quality IRIS prints on watercolor paper, once an exclusive service of his company, now were available to anybody with an inexpensive inkjet printer.
In retrospect, we can now see that the new millennium started with a very hot digital art community at its peak.
Everything had built up to an exciting scene, but at the same time a nervously frustrating market, with seminars, conferences, expos, workshops, happening everywhere. Soft- and hardware companies spent a lot of money on glamorous events, but in the end they needed good sales, which unfortunately didnt happen like a few years before. Company cut-downs and mergers became more frequent. Money was saved. Sponsorships were hold back.
The DHOF concept was still very active, though, and we were invited to show selected pieces at the DPIDIgitally Propelled Ideas exhibition in Pomona, California, February 24 - March 24, 2000. And in April, Agosto Inc. organized the Digital Art 2000 Tokyo event at the Tokyo International Forum, with many DHOF artists participating, such as Bert Monroy, Ron Chan, Pamela Hobbs, Terry Wakayama, and Kaizu. I was also honored to be invited and had a chance to present the Metalheart book project and my RenderMan typographic experiments. And of course, Japan aficionado Åke Nordgren joined us for a few days of wild beer-drinking, sushi-eating, sake-testing and karaoke-singing.
DHOF artists were also featured in the awarded Swedish Television show Mosquito, presented by Thomas Gylling. Artists included Andreas Lindholm, Toru Kosaka and Hiroshi Kunoh.
The year ended with the 3rd 3D Festival, now in Copenhagen, Denmark. The DHOF Award nominees were David Ho, Cem Gül, Bill Munns, Alessandro Bavari, Hampus Hedberg/Allain Bonneau, and Orcavisions. The winner was Alessandro Bavari, Latina, Italy, for his Three Peepers still image.
All Around The Graphics (AATG), an Italian interactive association founded in 1999, after the 36 Ore di Creativita 97 and Digital Creators Night in Milan 98, by Giovanni Dapra, Doriano Guerrieri and Enrica Menozzi, approached Claude Szwimer once again for a DCN event. During Grafitalia 2001, AATG displayed several artworks from the DHOF collection, including works by Alessandro Bavari, and Horacio Tomé Marques, and presented live performing artists such as Alberto Ciocia, Michela del Degan, and Stefano Dalzini.
The 4th 3D Festival in Copenhagen in October, now happened as an established festival with new forms and expressions, but we only participated with our DHOF Award. Nominees included Viktor Koen, Christian Haley, Werner Hornung, D-FUSE, and Asylum. The winner was Christian Haley with The One I Know, a hybrid illustration of 2D and 3D.
At the end of the year, a meeting was held in Hakone, near Mount Fuji, where we met with Agosto representatives to discuss a possible cooperation between the DHOF and the Japanese SAN (Super Artist Network) concept. There was also an informal lunch DHOF meeting with Japanese artists Hiroshi Yoshii, Kaizu, Sin Takahashi, Riki, and Hirofumi Nakano.
EFX, DCN, Metalheart, SAN and DHOF all these concepts worked well together, and the response from the digital art community was good. New artists presented themselves to us via CDs full of fantastic art. Still we saw a radical decline of a once so prosperous market, and the ways and means to find budgets for creative meetings seemed to be non-existing.
But in 2002, we were very fortunate to be part of two very nice events. Happening almost simultaneously in September, we had to place 40 Giclée prints at the PubTech Expo in Sollentuna, just outside Stockholm, and also ship 40 prints to the opening of the New Center for Technology (NewCAT) in Cleveland, Ohio. Several new Giclées were produced by Avanti Colorstudio, many of them created by artists published in the two Metalheart books, such as Lou Zadesky, Kalle Everland, Robert Zohrab, Dessie Alessandro, R.R.Tidd, Jim Sincock, André Sanchez and Daniel Long.
Many exciting videos and motion graphic clips were added to the DHOF art collection from artists such as DHOF Award Winner Alessandro Bavari, British design bureau D-FUSE, Swedish producer Klas Jonsson, and New York-based video producers Suk & Koch.
The DHOF exhibition stayed for almost 4 months in Cleveland, and the NewCAT organization received good coverage in the local press, radio and TV. William Scheele is now taking this project a step further, trying to connect with a larger digital art community in the US via the more well known Macworld and Siggraph events.
Meanwhile, we are working on new preferences for our EFX and DHOF activities, to meet the changing markets, and the harsher economic conditions. All in order to live up to the DHOF statement: To spread the digital message worldwide and allow digital artists more exposure.
ANDERS F RÖNNBLOM, våren 2004.
|1997. Digital Hall of Fame / Digital Creators Night in Milan.
|1998. Digital Hall of Fame at Macworld Expo in Tokyo.
|1999. Digital Hall of Fame at the 3D Festivalen in Malmö.
|2002. Digital Hall of Fame at NewCAT in Cleveland, USA.