As surprising as it was to find myself on the artist career path after so many years of school teaching and office work, it was a bigger surprise to find that computer technology and I were made for each other.
I was on education leave, in graduate school earning my master's in Communication when I bought my first computer, for the purpose of writing papers with correctly formatted and positioned footnotes. It was a PC clone with 256K floppy memory and only one program, WordPerfect. That was enough to win my heart forever.
From that moment on, when I wasn't working on the computer, I was thinking of more things to do with it. What turned out to be a new career in art business started as an idea for my thesis. I would start a business to put persuasion theory into practice and tally the results in an automatic table on the computer.
The business would be selling the art I made in my spare time and I would type all my promotional materials on the computer.
I turned in a different project for my thesis; but when I got my degree, I already had a burgeoning art business. Two years later, I opened the gallery to show and sell my handmade paper relief pieces. As planned, though, I did all the promotional materials on the computer and printed them on my daisy-wheel printer.
Hi-tech pochoir became a foregone conclusion with my second computer system, a Mac and laser printer. WordPerfect was the only program on that computer, too, for a while.
The Mac version there was a graphics section where I could draw the same cartoony pictures I had been drawing with Kohinor technical pens. The laserjet printed drawings nicely on Ogura and sheets of my own handmade paper, but the drawings still had to be hand-colored because the printer was b/w.
Eventually the drawings crashed WordPerfect, so I moved up to Illustrator and got a 24" inkjet printer to accommodate full-size Ogura sheets. The drawings still had to be hand colored, because ink for the printer was neither lightfast nor sophisticated enough in depth to be Ogura-worthy.Inkjet ink is too wet for marginally sized paper, anyway.
It was the Mac that took me on the internet as soon as the first IP opened in Rochester. I learned html at a very early stage of development to put up my first website. From then, I upgraded my systems and software religiously every third year, and developed my IT and computer skills organically in lock-step with the technology.
I didn't stay hidden in my studio enjoying my tech discoveries all alone. I talked about them constantly, to gallery visitors, to other artists, to the press and public in press releases, to everybody I could corner.
©Mary Kay Colling, 2016