My life in the bush of ghosts

I am currently engaged as the Assistant Program Director for Game Art and Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh- Online Division, and as an adjunct professor in the Game Development Institute at Austin Community College. However, I have not always been an educator.

After receiving a BA in psychology in 1971, I went to work immediately as a jeweler, while also experimenting with painting, sculpture and photography. My earliest jewelry objects were made with lost-wax casting in gold and silver, but I approached jewelry as an art form and I soon began experimenting with other methods and materials- in particular electro-formed metal and thermoformed plastics. While interesting in themselves, the results of these experiments served mainly to whet my appetite for more advanced techniques. Knowing that the Etruscan goldsmiths worked at the absolute technological horizon of their culture, I began a search for suitably advanced technologies from the last quarter of the 20th century. The obvious answer was electro-optics and microelectronics, so in 1974 I set out to master the then cutting edge Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology, just beginning to appear in watches and calculators.

LCD technology proved hard to master, requiring a "clean room" full of special equipment for assembly, among other obstacles, but by 1975 I was able to produce the very first LCD jewels ever created anywhere in the world. The displays for these jewels utilized geometric image elements of my own design, sequenced in time by custom electronic circuits, to produce a kind of time-based, moving graphics jewels unlike anything ever seen before.

During the mid to late 70s, I was also intrigued with other technology intensive art forms, including laser sculpture, holography, high-voltage (Kirlian) photography and video, but electronic wearables remained my main focus.

The LCD jewels were truly revolutionary, but even so they were still completely hardware dominated, so I set as my next goal to create jewels in which the esthetic entity would reside in software, executing in real time. It took a while for the requisite CMOS single chip microcomputers to be developed, but I was able to meet this goal in 1985, with the creation of the first truly cybernetic jewelry objects. These pieces forever severed the identity of jewelry with hardware, an identity that had obtained since prehistoric times.

After presenting my work at the Society of North American Goldsmiths Conference in 1986, it began to dawn on me that I was at least as much a computer artist as a jeweler- and I began to drift toward that scene, presenting to much better reception at tech art conferences in the USA and Europe. I found the whole computer art movement much more to my liking than the overly conservative art jewelry scene. My work was especially well received at SIGGRAPH. Additionally, I was becoming increasingly bored with my fashion jewelry company, but that was where all the money came from.

I resolved to return to school, to pursue studies in computer sciences, but eventually discovered that was not at all to my liking. At about this time, in the early 90s, the whole Virtual Reality movement was in efflorescence and I became an enthusiastic convert. I realigned my college career to the study of interactive design, under Dr. Sandy Stone at the U of Texas ACTLab- a peak experience in my life that pulled together many disparate thoughts and plans into a new world view. Rather than placing computers onto people, I was now placing people into computers and I came to denote my endeavors with the name "BIOAPPARATUS". This name was coined for a "Virtual Seminar" at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1992, where artists, technologists and humanists from around the world were invited to think about, discuss and experiment with, "the technological apparatus in its intimacy with the body". This interplay between the physical body and its technological extensions has bridged the gap between my artistic and more research-oriented activities.

While I was working on my MA degree, I was a Teaching Assistant in the ACTLab and I found to my utter surprise that I really loved teaching. After graduation, I worked at a leading interactive developer, Human Code, on cutting edge projects, but the tech bubble burst in 2001 and the company shut its doors. After some years of consulting work, I was offered the opportunity to teach at the Art Institute, where my love of teaching and technology makes a perfect fit.

My current resume in pdf format.