ASCII Art's grandfather: Paul Smith

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14 Responses to “ASCII Art's grandfather: Paul Smith”

  1. GammaBlog says:

    http://www.paulsmithfoundation.org/videos/incredible_sunday_clip_01.mov
    This short video shows a close-up of his technique.

  2. RyanH says:

    Thanks for that clip link. It’s hard to get excited about this guy’s work because the pictures on the site are so small. To really appreciate it you would need huge hi-res images.

  3. bibulb says:

    Back in the day, Price/Stern/Sloan! published a book of his art. Amazing stuff. (I remember seeing “Feline Princess” in there.)

  4. jphilby says:

    What used to be called “RTTY art” (RTTY is short for “radioteletype”) was long popular with amateur radio operators who got their hands on retired teletype equipment. RTTY used 45-baud (45 *bits* per second!) “baudot” code to send messages. (Baudot was an ASCII precursor.)

    Back in the day, this involved taping a piece of artwork to a piece of (continuous roll) teletype paper, and then carefully choosing and typing one character at a time while punching a paper tape. One mistake meant starting all over again! Some amazing efforts were part of the Christmas tradition for news services operators (UPI for example).

    An example archive for “RTTY art” (Google “rtty.art” for more):
    http://artscene.textfiles.com/rtty/

  5. js7a says:

    My amusement at the RTTY pr0n is surpassed only by my disgust that it was probably, er, used as such, and that only by my pity for those who did.

  6. noen says:

    I have yet to see any porn and what people did with these pics is none of my or your business. What I have seen are erotic images that appeal mostly to men. Pin up girls are not porn.

  7. jphilby says:

    Most of the RTTY pix traded by “hams” were work-friendly. Pinup girls were all over (calendars in restaurants, garages, farm-implement dealerships, for example) long before Playboy. Not to mention Betty Grable.

    I’m amused that anyone, in this day-and-age, could “pity” people who enjoy erotic images.

  8. jphilby says:

    Most of the RTTY pix traded by “hams” were work-friendly. Pinup girls were all over (calendars in restaurants, garages, farm-implement dealerships, for example) long before Playboy. Not to mention Betty Grable.

    I’m amused that anyone, in this day-and-age, could “pity” people who enjoy erotic images.

  9. CountD says:

    I submitted a similar link over a year ago. So I still claim this as a win for me.

  10. Neuron says:

    CountD, if you put the word “typewriter” in your post, you win by a landslide.

  11. the Other michael says:

    This is a great example of typewriter art (and thus concrete/visual poetry, by extension?), but I don’t know if I’d say it’s a forerunner of ASCII art.

    ASCII art is the ASCII chars, yes, just like your finding on the typewriter — but it’s also all the chars found on a (usually) fixed grid (vertical, if not horizontal) and with no individual shading variations (cf key-pressure on a typewriter) aside from the relative solidity of the char.

    OTOH, that’s a semantic quibble?

  12. techguy137 says:

    My Dad worked for the phone company & was also a Ham Radio operator. I sometimes used to go with him on the weekends down to the phone company C.O. (central office) & there would be a couple of teletype machines going off. Occasionally someone would send pictures over them. He would tell me that the person that was doing that was bored cause it took quite a bit of time to do. There was some amazing art that came over those. As a kid I had a picture of a wolf howling at the moon that came over the RTTY. I also remember that he had one in his Ham shack that he resurrected from a dead one. Mostly messages from other Ham’s, but pictures also. Pin up girls too! It was amazing stuff to a young boy. I still find it facsinating. Too bad nobody does it anymore.

  13. ipcmix says:

    very interesting :-)

  14. OM says:

    …Ah, those fond memories of tying up the line printers with multiple copies of LGSPOCK :-)

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