When I was in Coronado high school, in El Paso in 1976, I was a part of the first generation to get involved with computers.
There was a handful of us who would write out our programs, in ‘Basic’, and then our math teacher (who was married to an electrical engineering professor at UTEP) would arrange for all of us to get time on the key-punch machines late at night at the UTEP ‘EE’ Department. Those key-punch machines (yes – we’re talking the dawn of computing) would punch holes in cards and each card was a line of code or instructions for the computer. A whole program translated into a big stack of cards. The punch-cards would then get batch fed into a mainframe in the middle of the night and our teacher would bring the results to us the next day. Most of us would have a missing comma, or a missing bracket that would throw an error and kill the program before it could even run, and we would have to correct it, and do the whole thing over the next night, getting the new output the following day. This was the nature of early computing – a lot of waiting, anger, and frustration. There was nothing ‘point-n-click’ about it. Eventually we learned that preciseness is everything in computing.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was not really cut out for programming (such as it was back then). I could do it, but it drove me crazy. And around that time, I got my my first contact with the internet – witnessing a grad student in that room full of mainframes having a texting conversation with someone in Berlin. I was blown away, and hooked at the same time. I had seen the future. Today, any smart-phone has more computing power than any of those main-frames housed in a 70’s era university Electrical Engineering department, and children who can barely spell or read are using the internet for entertainment .
Nonetheless, that early exposure gave me a solid enough foundation to eventually, decades later, lead a team of programmers and artists at one of the larger ‘dot-coms’ in New York, creating websites for major corporations like IBM, Coke, MTV, Clairol Pro, and the Bank of New York, etc. That, combined with several years of toiling away in the New York art-world at some of the top-tier galleries and museums, trying to be an art star painter and showing my work at major art galleries, and several years of experience as the co-founder and Creative Director for a 10,000+ square foot non-profit arts space in El Paso – ‘FORUM Arts & Culture’ – have led me to where I am now. You can get a better handle on all this by going over to my personal portfolio site at L-Studio.org/about.
Art stardom has not happened (…yet…) but what I do have, are all the skills to start a really kick-ass online (and eventually a ‘brick ‘n’ mortar’) art-centric salon, like the one you are looking at right now. For more on the The Border MASSIVE big picture/game plan, head over to the About page.
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–Jeff Litchfield (Publisher)
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