Looking through the pictures I have chosen for this analogue exhibition I realize that they are all quite complex, and ambivalent, straddling the ‘digital/analogue’ divide. Perhaps I have never completed the journey from one side to the other. I must be two or three steps behind.
I came to computer graphics rather late, in the mid eighties, when I was set in my ways as a painter. But I was overwhelmed by the freedom, the colour, the speed – and that was the Apple II. My problem at that time was how to integrate that freedom with the slower pace of painting. I still work in both forms every day, in parallel, though I now think of it all as ‘just’ painting.
I have not given much thought, recently, to the ‘materialization of data’, or been troubled about the virtual versus physical. When digital art was coming of age, some of us may have expected something to emerge that was ‘beyond’ physical painting. But all my digital pieces were thought out as paintings from the start, as colour on a surface; I prefer to work in the context of art in general, not just digital art. That label can be a problem.
To state the obvious, these works are visual. I don’t really follow an agenda, or a research programme, though I have been collecting early twentieth century how-to-draw books, finding an affinity there with the way paint software has been designed. I am easily distracted by their botanical illustrations, their diatribes against modern art, their lessons in how to hold the pencil. Some of these motifs slip into the paintings.
James Faure Walker (b. 1948, London) studied at St Martins (1966-70) and the RCA (1970-72). He has been integrating computer graphics in his painting since 1988. 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 (8 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. He was one of five English artists commissioned to produce a print for the 2010 Fine Art South African World Cup. His ‘Painting the Digital River: How an Artist Learned to Love the Computer’, (2006, Prentice Hall, USA), won a New England Book Show Award. He is Reader in Painting and the Computer at Camberwell, University of the Arts, London.