ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished piece. This week, A. Bill Miller talks about his ASCII-based Holoscreen projection piece from his recent “Gridworks” show at TRANSFER Gallery.

Currently my sketchbook is really just a series of folder/directories on multiple computers and hard drives. I haven’t had a studio proper in a while. My work space/materials reflect that. I do have traditional sketchbooks but those are mostly just notes to myself and lists of things to do.

For quite a few years I’ve been making drawings as text documents. Those documents are sketches and larger projects which I post online. The process begins by making the text-drawings which are essentially a form of ASCII art. The series of sketches/drawings probably started around 2008 when I would make at least one a day, but over time that has changed. I’m getting close to around 700 of them right now and they fall under the series title gridworks2000. They are saved in a plaintext format (.txt) and posted using the pre formatted text tag.

Some of the gridworks2000 sketches/drawings remain simply a text file and a screenshot. Others are developed further through very simple operations like rotation, scale, scale, blending mode, and color. Because a text document is very portable (copy/paste), I use the sketches in a variety of different ways. Some are layered into compositions for digital print. Others are layered with time to create animations. Others are layered with html and css for the web. No matter what the final format might be, they all start the same sort of way.

The sketch/drawing here is #0695 – so its fairly recent. It was used to generate an animated sequence that I displayed recently at TRANSFER Gallery as a single channel projection on Holoscreen. I’ve also included a project screenshot to show a secondary stage — simple operations with plaintext. I do that a lot of times and in the case of this animation, added an effect to decrease the amount of layers in the composition but achieve the same sort of time-displacement (echo). gridSol_4

I’m interested in working this way because I enjoy constraints and repetition. I find a meaningful creative experience by following a series of steps. Each time I do the same thing, something different happens — and with that difference, things that are of aesthetic interest to me occur.

See A. Bill Miller’s work at Run Computer Run and Spamm Safari exhibitions.

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