By 2002, I had been creating personal artwork on the computer. Maybe not everyone will concede that it is/was fine art, but it was personal. I was working at a newspaper, and along with everything else, I was sneaking my own artwork into my schedule whenever I got the time to do so. I was already using Photoshop. I had gotten some of my smaller prints into national, regional, and local shows.
I had decided that I wanted my work to get bigger, and I wanted to print in color. Nobody seemed to know anything, and then, all of a sudden, there were experts all over the place. I asked questions, but I wasn't getting any answers. So, I began looking around, farther afield. I found a place in Santa Fe that was offering workshops in Digital Printmaking. This was exactly what I wanted to do. Exactly, and not only that, it was being conducted by a guy who was closely connected to Crosby Stills and Nash. That would be cool, I thought.
Mac Holbert, at the time, was part owner of Nash Editions in California. He and Graham Nash had worked together to take large format inkjet printers into the realm of fine art printing. They took a hacksaw to an Iris printer so that it would accept larger, fine art-type paper. They eventually worked with Epson to invent pigmented inksets. Holbert became an expert at and worked with the people at Photoshop. I became more and more excited. I even got a grant from the Arizona Commission of the Arts to go.
Then, as I read more, I began to get a sense that this whole thing was oriented to Photography. I hadn't even thought of that. It said Digital Printmaking, but the school holding the classes was Santa Fe Workshops, and as I looked at all of the other course descriptions, I saw they were all about photography. So I had to ask. Then Mac said, "Sure, let him in. It could be interesting."
Two or three days into the workshop, the director came walking through our classroom. He looked at what I was doing and asked Mac, who was standing across the room. "Is he using photography with this over here?" He actually seemed a little bit irritated. Mac said, "No, actually he's using raw pixels, starting completely from scratch". The director just kind of shook his head and continued on his way around the room. I don't remember him saying anything to me at all.
Afterwards, I tried to incorporate what I had learned about layers. It was quite a big leap for my work, and I also began trying to add that into my traditional painted works. I'm still working with all of that. I've owned and worked with several large format printers. I've added to everything I've learned along the way through experience. I've never worked with algorithims. I've never worked with fractal programs. My digital works and my paintings are closely connected, although I think they are also separate kinds of work.