I consider myself as a Digilante
I coined the term Digilante In 1995 as an in-joke with fellow digital artist Victor Acevedo.
"Digilantes" is aplay on words as named after the self-organized 19th century 'law men' in
the American West, who were alert,watchful, and advocated the taking of action into one's
own hands. Art and technology have always been linked through the artist either embracing
the technology or reacting against it. In the early 1970's government and big business were
the only institutions that could afford to own the technology. Only a few artists were allowed
intothese labs to collaborate (E.A.T. for example) with the scientists and engineers. Most
artists did not have accessand were traditionally mistrustful of both institutions. In the early
eighties there were artists who much like theenthusiasts who created the pc industry, bought
or built their own equipment with the idea that anyone should haveaccess to the technology
and that the quality of the art should not depend on the level of equipment. These artist'sare
who I refer to as Digilantes. They exist throughout the world. By the turn of the nineties a
crisis inrepresentation arose around the reproduction of imagery, who it belong to, and where
it resides. Informationbecame acommodity, and the computer in an interactive and hypermedia
context had now established itself as both aformidable art-making tool and a medium.
The L A Digilante's refered to the group of art activists to include Myself, Acevedo, video
artist Michael Masucciand art historian Patric Prince who In the middle eighties embraced
digital technology before there was anyonearound to recognize this spontaneous initiative
as part of an international movement. Digital art in Los Angeles tookroot and flourished in
a scene that was built by the digitalists themselves. These artists secured the venues, mounted
the shows, published the mailings and self-promoted a series of exhibitions that are historic
as their legacy is not analternative to some other series of artist-produced Los Angeles digital
art exhibits. In fact, there weren't any others.
With regard to my work, I my self am a painter who works in both traditional and electronic media.
I'm notcomputer literate in classic sense of programing. I'm computer literate in the current sense
of a user. I use thecomputer as an artistic tool, similar to a brush, to realize, explore and create
imagery that has continued to interestme as an artist throughout my professional career, water, light,
relationships, family and the portrait as representingmans struggle for spiritual freedom. I see the
digital image as soft and as deconstructed information. The changesin the image over time are
represented as artifacts. I see the output process much like printmaking. My computerwork revolves
around the notion that anyone should have access to the technology. Many artists throughout the
history of art have used the technology of their time to assist in the creative act. My approach to my
computer work is low tech. I want to keep control over everything from input to output. I choose to
work with a pixelated look because that's the nature of the work and the machine. I like to think of
myself as the pixilator. I work in low resolution and print on a 180 dpi printer. I tile the output to
create largeimages. I use the computer to express meaning just as I would with any other medium.
In the past year I've createdseveral large installation works consisting of fourteen 96" rows of tractor
feed paper push pinned to the wallcreating a large single image or repeating multiples. The installations
address issues of deconstruction in theinformation age, the role of the digilante in a post cool world,
art vs. technology and the role of the artist asde-creator. I also use the computer to continue my
exploration of sound art based on the serialist composers andthe work of electronic music pioneer
My feeling is that most effective computer art will transcend the hardware and software. I have come
to think of art as information and language. I see the computeras an information machine, a medium
machine, a communication machine, and a structure machine capable of generating its own language.
The computer speaks universal Boolarian breaking down all traditional cultural barriers. The convergence
of communication, video, cable/satellite and computer technologies will continue to shrink the world in
which we live. New forms of expression will arise from these work makes a cultural and artistic statement
that speaks to our time in history and beyond.
Publishers Addison Wesley represent Michael Wright's digital work in a new book
"The Computer in the Visual Arts" by Anne Morgan Spalter of Brown University.
The book "is a seminal contribution in how computers are used in art and design,
integrating theory, examples, concepts underlying all the major types of graphics
software, explaining the principles and practices that artists, designers, illustrators,
and photographers simply must understand to take full advantage of this dynamic,
visual medium. "The Computer in the Visual Art" gives the whole picture, pioneer
artists,technical principles, artistic choices, creative uses and misuses, all with the
freshness of the hands-on practitioner."
Michael Wright, is a painter working in both traditional and electronic mediums.
He has exhibited digital works at the Kellogg University ArtGallery, California State
Polytechnic University, the @ Cafe, New York City,the Laband Art Gallery, Loyola
Marymount University Los Angeles, the Municipal Gallery in Hollywood, the Riverside
Community College Gallery, the University Gallery, California State University at Chico,
the Downey Museum of Art, Downey Calif., the Sam Francis Gallery in Santa Monica,
Fine Arts Gallery, California State University Los Angeles, On Line Gallery CyberArts
International, Pasadena, Cal., the Site gallery, Los Angeles and Downtown Lives in
Los Angeles. He currently has digital works on tour aspart of the 9th National Computer
Art Invitational of Eastern Washington State University. His digital works have been
published in Linda Jacobs'book Cyberarts: Exploring Art & Technology, Wired, Micro
Publishing Newsand Computer Graphics & Applications. He and his work have been
featured onAgent X, Television Tokyo and Patricia Shields on Art in New York.
Wright has instructed for the Institute for Teaching and Learning, California State University
Long Beach. He is the recipient of the OtisAward of Excellence in Arts Education and has
also been a Guest Artist inCommunication Studies at California State University at Los Angeles
introducing video and the computer. He was Guest Artist at California State University Summer
Arts, Computer workshop for Artists and designers, HumboltState University, Arcata, Calif.
He formally served on the Siggraph Education Committee and the Siggraph Traveling Exhibition
Committee.Wright is currently an adjunct associate professor at Otis College of Art and Design in
Los Angeles and also instructs on a regular basis for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and
the Los Angeles County High School for theArts.
Examples of Wright's digital work can be seen on the world wide web at www.w3art.com.
"I Be Am"
C G I
April 1 - May 6, 1999
P.E.O. Foundation Gallery
Michael Wright, a painter working in both traditional and electronic
mediums will be exhibiting digital prints at the P.E.O. Foundation Gallery,
Cottey College in Neveda Mo. April 1 thru May 6. The work in this
exhibition focuses on the portrait as representing human kind's struggle for
Wright's work appears currently in a new book "The Computer in the
Visual Arts" by Anne Morgan Spalter of Brown University, published by
Addison Wesley . The book "is a seminal contribution in how computers are
used in art and design, integrating theory, examples, concepts underlying
all the major types of graphics software, explaining the principles and
practices that artists, designers, illustrators, and photographers simply
must understand to take full advantage of this dynamic, visual medium. His
digital works are also published in Linda Jacobs' book Cyberarts: Exploring
Art & Technology, Wired, Micro Publishing News and Computer Graphics &
Wright is currently an adjunct associate professor in the Digital
Media Program at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He has
instructed for the Institute for Teaching and Learning, California State
University Long Beach. He is the recipient of the Otis Award of Excellence
in Arts Education and has also been a Guest Artist in Communication Studies
at California State University at Los Angeles introducing video and the
computer. He was Guest Artist at California State University Summer Arts,
Computer workshop for Artists and designers, Humbolt State University,
Arcata, Calif. He formally served as a juror on the Siggraph Education
Committee. Wright also instructs on a regular basis for the Los Angeles
County Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
Wright currently has digital works on display at the Art Gallery of
Santa Monica College as part of the Los Angeles Printmaking Society Group
Exhibition through April 9th and has work on tour as part of the 9th
National Computer Art Invitational of Eastern Washington State University.
Examples of Wright's digital work can be seen on the worldwide web at
www.w3art.com. and the home page of EZTV.