My parents were big believers in education, and specifically staying up on technology. Perhaps they saw how the ever-evolving technology surrounding computers was effecting their world even in the early 1980's. So they made sure their kids had opportunity to learn.
My first computer class was in the basement of a convent. No joke. It was on an Apple II computer. This all makes sense to me now, as it solidified my pursuit of my beliefs, established me as a die hard Apple user, and drew me into loving technology. I just left the nun part alone. (although I was a Pastor for a number of years, so there's that.)
Fast forward to around 1983, and my parents got me my very own computer, a Commodore 64. I used it mostly for trying to copy code from the Compute! Gazette magazine (which mostly failed. No bouncing ball for me) or playing video games (Rambo, Bruce Lee and Spy Hunter to name a few). I had proudly graduated from my Atari 2600. Now I was living the dream, compete with my newly found information of using both sides of a floppy disc and pirating software with friends (This went downhill fast, didn't it?)
I remember vividly, when I was in the 8th grade, and my parents had bought me a KoalaPad touch tablet (it's pretty crude by today's standards, but revolutionary for 1984.) and an Okidata Okimate 10 color printer (color, oh my!) for my Commodore 64.
The KoalaPad was a drawing tablet that consisted of a 4″x4″ drawing area and two buttons, and was released by Koala Technologies for multiple 8-bit computers The KoalaPad also came with KoalaPainter, a pretty basic drawing program that allowed useres to draw basic shapes, colors, and load and save their creations. I know this sounds like stone tablets to todays users, but there was no PhotoShop. This was it!
This opened up a new world for me. I already loved drawing, but the thought of drawing using the computer, fusing together two things I loved? Now, that was where it was at.
I knew that my 8th grade English teacher shared a love of Opus from the comic strip Bloom County, so I drew her an Opus and gave her a color printout. She treasured it, and my desire to use art with technology to bring people joy was solidified. Even that early age, I understood the importance of serving others through my art and bringing them value.
Ever since I was a kid, my art has always been connected to helping people. My first memories of creating were centered around drawing pictures and creating my own greeting cards for family and friends. I loved the way my art made an impact on them and brought them joy. So all of this just made sense to me.
Today, I do a wide variety of types of art – graphic design, pet portraits, pop culture art, faith based and more. It is still creating art that connects with the heart around shared experiences. And a lot of my art is digital, a medium some feel lacks heart ironically. The tools have changed (thankfully!) but MY heart hasn't.
I'm so thankful for those humble beginnings. They laid the foundation for today. I had no idea back in the basement of that convent that I would one day be pursuing art and technology, leveraging them for the benefit of others.
So what about you?
What past experiences of yours have contributed to what you are doing today?
Leave me a comment. I'd love to know!