“Long-time Ajax resident, Mike Butler can quite literally be called a pioneer of digital art. In the early 1980s, in the infancy of the personal computer, he saw the potential for art-making with pixels and bytes that began a fascination that continues to this day.
After graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto in 1980, where he had studied fine art, Mike got himself one of the first rudimentary Radio Shack colour computers and immediately began experimenting with the creation of abstract designs.
Because this was prior to computer printers, he had to be content with his art being viewable only on his monitor – although he recalls that some artists from that era would take photographs of their screens and print them for display.
In this pre-virtual reality world, however, Mike imagined himself as the creator of digital art for people in the Cyberspace envisaged by one his favorite science fiction writers [William Gibson]. And, in a fascinating case of imagination realized, with the advent of the internet, his work has now become available to a world-wide audience.”
Mad Science in Art
“[At that time], I often imagined myself as a character in one of his [William Gibson] novels, churning out digital art for the denizens of Cyberspace,” Butler explains.
“This is a large part of the attraction, the kind of hot metal ‘Gibsonesque’ imagery that squirts out onto the screen. The unique qualities of digital art … are the instant feedback that you get, the speed of creation, and, of course, the undo button. But more than that is the feeling that you are painting directly with light. Seeing the images unfold on the screen has a kind of hot immediacy that you just don’t get with traditional media.”
From Mad Science in Art by Gary Singh (IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications)