Tell us how you moved from art to computer graphics.
In 1955 another personal friend, an engineer, introduced me to the computer. For ten years, during the cocktail hour, we had an ongoing dialogue about the computer and the role of computers in the future. The idea of graphics never came up since there were no graphics output devices. I viewed the computer as a text machine or a number cruncher, but I'm sure these discussions developed my appreciation and understanding of the machine. We did reach the stage where we talked about the computer as a philosopher, a theorist, and an intellect.
Then, in 1965, I saw a computer graphic of a face where a flexowriter device was used for output. The photograph of a face had been manually digitized based on value assignments for contour regions. In the computer the image had been broken down into gray levels, and the edges of contours had been softened to make it look like continuous tone. When I saw this, I knew what I had to do-learn about computer programming and many technical details.
Because of the dialogue over 10 years with my engineer friend, it all made sense to me. A group of engineers at Ohio State University, where I was then a professor of art, were very helpful. I think they were intrigued by an artist who wanted to learn about computers. I happened to be in the right place at the right time.
In 1968 friends encouraged me to apply to the National Science Foundation for a grant. I had no credentials in science, and it was an outrageous notion that NSF would fund me. but my friends thought I had some good ideas. There was a pioneering spirit at the foundation then, a desire to help the public learn about what computers could do. I took a gamble: I got funded. We demonstrated that we could do good research, so they continued funding me for 20 years. After a while the issue of my background disappeared.
I don't know that you could do that today. The field is so big and sharply focused with a better definition of research issues. And there's so much more expertise.