Since this is my first article — and you obviously have never heard of me — I would like to give you a brief introduction. My name is Anthony, aka ANT, a 31-year-old graphic design artist. I first started out pursuing the world of art just like most people who are artistically inclined: by coloring, drawing, cartooning, and just trying to excel in my art classes throughout my elementary and middle school days. When I was a teenager, I became interested in computers, since, by then, it was 1992 and home computers were now commonplace. I started doing computer art in ANSI format, then moved on to RIP script and ASCII shortly thereafter. I ran numerous BBSes in the 616 (later to be 231) area code, located in Muskegon, MI. My BBS names were Satan’s Sanctuary, Sector 11, Organ Grinder, and a couple others I don’t remember off the top of my head. I ran them on a Compaq with Windows 95, and a Pentium 75 with a 14.4 modem. I ran Renegade for a while, tried quite a few others [BBS software], but eventually settled on Iniquity.
For those of you that don’t know, a BBS, or a “bulletin board system”, is a computer system running software that allows users to connect and log into the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, a user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users, either through email, public message boards, and sometimes via direct chatting. Many BBSes also offer on-line games, in which users can compete with each other, and BBSes with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other. (thank you to Wikipedia for the best explanation I could find and share without confusing you).
By the age of 18, I had moved onto PhotoShop, GIMP, and learning more about how computers work; I studied their software, operating systems, and how networks work. I took Novell Netware classes during high school, and constantly ran different operating systems like Linux and OS/2 out of sheer boredom.
After a couple months, I found myself homeless, and didn’t have proper access to a computer, except for at work. Most of my computer hobbies had dissipated shortly thereafter. Throughout that time, I had a laptop where I was able to hone my PhotoShop, Illustrator, and other design skills that didn’t need an internet connection. As far as I knew, BBSing died in 2002.
BBSing originally was local, and in your area code. Basically you would run software on a computer, and people could call and connect with your computer, and meet people in the area/all over the world (anywhere accessible by telephone) through messages, play games, find software and files, and even chat. The HEYDAY for BBSing for me and the world was in the 90’s. Throughout the 90’s, the Internet gained popularity, and the popularity of the BBS diminished. By 2000, there were no longer any local BBSes in the 231 area code. I did find a few Telnet BBSes buried on the internet, but eventually these BBSes shut down around 2002.
Now in 2013, you can access Telnet BBS through a program called SYNC TERM
. It is the same thing, except the art is better (in my opinion). I rediscovered about 20 to 30 BBSes that are still in operation when I was feeling nostalgic and looking for an ANSI editor
one day. I found the ANSI editor Pablo Draw, which is a text editor used to create 16 bit art. After getting my bearings back for drawing ANSI, I submitted a few designs to the worldwide ANSI art group BLOCK7RONICS
. Upon their review of my creations, I was happily accepted as a member.
The BLOCK7RONICS group just won DEMOSPLASH 2013
ANSI/ASCII art competition in Pittsburgh, PA, with a joint-ANSI called “ACiD Trip
” which is a 3,265 line ANSI made by 23 artists in 6 different countries. The art was made on 2 separate servers. I feel blessed to have been involved in the “ACiD Trip
30 disembodied eyeballs
9 frogs a-leaping
6 wild tongues lashing about
5 birds, some angry, some lawn ornaments.
3 cats including Garfield Lecter
3 tadpoles… wishing they were frogs
3 dolphins with turtle friend
? dragons are everywhere
1 snake (snakes galore!)
1 visible penis
If you displayed consecutive classic Dos 80×25 screens, you’d have to stack 136 monitors to display the whole thing. And, if you printed each of those 80×25 screens on a standard letter size paper, the full ANSI would be nearly 10 stories tall.
Since this is my first pack with BLOCK7RONICS, we are re-introducing me (aka ANT) to the ANSI community. I’m glad to have gotten my bearings back so quickly. I’ve been working on quite a few ANSI’s for the new ART PACK that comes out on October 30, 2013, which is Devil’s Night. This pack should be awesome. I’m including a Telnet BBS list so you guys can download Sync-term or another Telnet client, and get involved in the underground BBS scene!
ANSI art is a retro form of computer art; for many of us, ANSI was the first style of computer art we were introduced to, as it is very similar to our 8 bit predecessors like Nintendo and Atari video game graphics. Luckily, ANSI is finally being taken seriously by the public as a real art form. There are plenty of demo parties, but now there are actual brick-and-mortar art galleries displaying ANSI. It’s not just for hidden online amusement anymore. Here’s to all the ANSI work of the past, and to the ever growing future — hopefully its a bright one!
The new Blocktronics Art Pack will be available on Devil’s Night – 10/30/2013 there will be a link on Flocked Media for you all to check it out..