• Drawing Machines, Bathing Machines, Motorbikes, the Stars…. Where are the Masterpieces?

  • James Faure Walker

    The term ‘digital drawing’ may imply a special kind of drawing, set against a natural approach. Previous generations also had to adjust to the new technologies of the time. Some resisted, some went ahead. New methods present difficulties as well as opportunities. The how-to-draw books of the 1900’s show not just one ‘traditional’ approach, but a wide range, and a healthy debate. For the past two centuries such books have here and there discussed both drawing machines, and the connected question of how to draw machines. One way or another the world of drawing will absorb the impact of computers, and it won’t be just as an isolated genre of slightly weird drawing. So it is wrong to exclude ‘digital’ drawing from surveys, to think of this category as distinct from mainstream drawing. Museums have already collected the significant works, and traced the history. The way forward should be to integrate digital tools within the broad spectrum of drawing types. There are no good reasons for not using digital devices, and no good reasons for not using pencils. All the same, I cite three cases where a pencil and paper technique would not be up to the job: football, a drawing jam session, and astronomy.

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    Biographical information

    James Faure Walker (b. 1948 London)
    Reader in Painting and the Computer at Camberwell.
    James studied at St Martins (1966-70) and the RCA (1970-72). He co-founded Artscribe magazine in 1976, and edited it for eight years. Recent one-person exhibitions include Galerie Wolf Lieser (2003); Galerie der Gegenwart, Wiesbaden (2000, 2001). Group exhibitions include Jerwood Drawing Prize (2010); ‘Digital Pioneers’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2009); ‘Imaging by Numbers’, Block Museum, Illinois, USA (2008); Siggraph, USA (eight times 1995 -2007); John Moores, Liverpool (1982, 2002); Bloomberg Space (2005); DAM Gallery, Berlin (2003, 2005, 2009). In 1998 he won the ‘Golden Plotter’ at Computerkunst, Gladbeck, Germany. His ‘Painting the Digital River: How an Artist Learned to Love the Computer’, (2006, Prentice Hall, USA), won a New England Book Show Award.

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