Art to Design

Listening to a video podcast on Joe Collins YouTube channel and he pointed to this page of testimonials from many people who use Linux despite the naysayers. Inspired me to write this article from that idea.

I was born with a graphite pencil in one hand and a drawing pad in the other. I illustrated the face profiles of men because it was easiest. Then I wanted to draw nonstop because it just was a passion. Then I studied with several art teachers from elementary through college. My interest in graphite faded as technology became cheaper but my artistic side had not.

I had gone through the pencil, the pen, the manual typewriter, carbon copy paper, the electric typewriter, the typewriter correction tape, the proprietary Gateway computers, and the Digital computer.

My Dad found computer parts and put them together for me, my first computer. I had used computers before but this was something new just for me to use. A 486 Pentium with 512 MB RAM with an 80 GB hard drive and 14.4K baud external dial-up modem, a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor, large external speakers that buzzed on a bad connection, standard mouse, and a loud, ear-piercing Dot Matrix printer, which took green and white striped paper. Windows 95 with Notepad, Internet Explorer and Netscape, Juno, AOL (beast), and Netzero for internet services, MS Paint, MS-DOS Command Prompt, and MS Word. Back then antivirus and anti-malware programs were not needed because the webs weren’t fully developed. Then followed Windows 98, ME (somewhere with e-machines), XP and XP Pro. By then I had a laptop with Windows XP Pro from Toshiba. And I was experimenting with Linux as a dual-boot before WiFi drivers were available on the compact disc (CD) in Ubuntu 6.04 LTS. That meant you had to put some on a 3.5 floppy drive or flash drive to transfer them to the next operating system.

I finally moved to Ubuntu by version 7.04 when it was more capable of matching those drivers with an ethernet connection. I stayed with Ubuntu all through college because it was an operating system that allowed me to work without worrying about viruses and I didn’t need Microsoft Office.

After finding out that the degree I was enrolled in at the university, Electrical/Electronics Engineering Technology wasn’t for me, I jumped back into art and classical guitar for a short semester then for whatever reason, truck driving was the job I took over finishing my Bachelor’s degree. It was after the truck driving for six months that I discovered Graphic Design and that it was directly connected to my art. If I had stayed longer in art classes at the university, I would have eventually discovered it there among my new friends.

Now, I don’t need that degree because I went from graphic design back into my past-time interest in web design while I was studying Electrical/Electronics Technology because of an interest in Amateur “Ham” Radio (Extra Class license holder), Window XP Pro and Server 2003, and Cisco Routing/Switching Networks (CCNA 1-4) at the community college. Despite having lots of homework and side hobbies, making good grades, I was still bored so I filled my time learning web design starting with HTML, then discovering CSS five years later while I was in the university taking the engineering and art classes, then during my graphic design courses back in the community college, I discovered WordPress in 2009 and started building themes by tearing them apart. No one taught me how to use it, we only learned DreamWeaver while in class and lightly covered Javascript programming logic. I was always in the Code tab during DreamWeaver classes because I wanted to know what was going on. And my first time on the Mac, I had learned it in two weeks and even more had memorized all the keyboards shortcuts for the programs, even the hidden functions.

While I was learning graphic design and taking up two internships required for class credit, I continued to provide computer technician support as a side job for Windows, Linux, and OS X.

A journey to digital graphic design as production assistant I still have a slight interest for especially in my friend’s office chair because it brings back old memories even before sitting there, back to my Dad’s office with the green carpet and sliding across in flexible-back metal chairs with soft padding on the seats and armrests, the two wide architect printers, the battery and inverter that powered that expensive $2000 computer and the cold air that that swamp fan pumped into a medium-sized room despite the blistering heat outside an hour north of the equator in Kandé, Togo, West Africa. I can see myself working with Dad, binding books with plastic red wires and snugging down those red caps with pliers.

Several WordPress clients came out of my interest and I enjoyed working with each one of them for several years. Now, I’m still in WordPress but exploring new ground in PHP, jQuery, Javascript, CentOS upgrades, JSON, JS-APIs, React, GitHub Pages and Jekyll. I’ve noticed that sometimes it seems hard to pick it up but if I keep pushing through, I eventually get an ah-ha moment.

And while I’m learning new programming languages, my side hobby is photography. Not far from design yet again, designing the composition if I may put it in such a way, laying out that scene but in virtual space instead of the digital space, having “an eye for good design” my creative friends say of me, and maybe soon with the aid of a flash and diffuser, I will have one more element in the drawing scene to graph-in.

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