We sent a couple of Tacoma’s more plugged-in artists 20 questions about their relationship with technology. They sent us some answers.
Comic artist, co-founder of the Cartoonist’s League of Absurd Washingtonians
What kind of cell phone do you use? An iPhone, loaded to the gills with social- networking apps.
What piece of technology would you invent to improve your craft? The personal assistant robot. I spend a huge amount of my time performing tasks that are necessary to my profession as a freelance illustrator, but which distract me from spending time at the table actually sketching. I want a robot that can research potential clients, book me the best flights, do my accounting and wash those pesky dishes. Of course, I would trust this robotic overlord implicitly.
Describe the personality of your favorite piece of gear. My portable scanner: this gizmo is small and light enough that it takes up almost no room in my bag. It’s inexpensive and extremely reliable, and there was a time last year when I realized I had it plugged in on my desk and was using it more than my flat-screen scanner.
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever charged a battery? My aunt Christine’s bathroom. That woman has a chainsaw-carved bear holding her toilet paper.
Have you ever roughed up a piece of gear to make it work? Yes. For years I lived with an unusable hard drive as part of my daisy chain. I had to repeatedly hit it to get it to start up. The only reason I kept it plugged into the chain was that without it my system would mysteriously undergo a series of errors or crashes until I plugged it back in. It was only after I upgraded completely to a new computer that I left behind the manacles of my dysfunctional daisy chain.
What constitutes abuse of technology? Nigerian spam, penis enlargement. It’s all lies.
What’s the best use of social media? Being able to build an online community that focuses on your art as its primary interest.
What’s the most valued piece of equipment you’ve broken? While I damage, misuse and overuse my equipment hard enough for it to literally melt, I can’t say I’ve actually broken any of it. Still, I’m going to feel sorry for that robot.
Is there a piece of equipment you (metaphorically) hide behind? At first I was going to say the iPhone, but then I realized it was my desktop computer. When it comes to hiding from the work you have to do, nothing else offers a better source of endless procrastination. I fear I might be declared missing if I ever got a Cintiq monitor.
What was the first piece of equipment you ever loved? A Mac SE. It was my very first personal computer. The very first drawing I did on it was a caricature of William Dafoe done two inches high in perfectly arranged pixels. The second thing I did on it was to take the recipe cards I was using as a filing system and create my first database.
How has gear influenced your work? Significantly. Keep in mind I’m from the age of T squares and wax guns where we would send out text to a typesetter and wait 24 hours to see how close our math was. Oh, and I invented fire.
What piece of gear do you covet, and why? The HD Flip camera. My current video camera is five years old, and the sound made by the little gears that move the tape is loud enough to be picked up by its speaker. The HD Flip would be perfect for the vlogging I do, as it has a great-quality picture, is very simple to use and is ridiculously inexpensive. All of those factors make it oh-so-tempting.
What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done with a piece of technology? Oh, that’s a tough one. It’s mind-boggling to think that being able to draw sketches while teleconferencing with a client in Australia via Skype is not considered outrageous, or that pinging my wife on HeyWAY via the phone to see where she is in traffic so I can tell if I have enough time at the Park and Ride to get a lotto ticket isn’t outrageous either—just part of a usual day. What is something outrageous? Does sending a guy to jail count?
What do you think of Steve Jobs? I’m hoping for huge improvements in cloning technology to happen very quickly.
Artist, member of Zeitbike Crew, technician for Harley Davidson
What kind of cell phone do you use? The Motorola Droid.
What piece of equipment can you not live without, and why? I suppose I can’t live without my Droid. Several months ago my home computer came to a tragic end and my droid has had to pick up the slack.
What piece of technology would you invent to improve your craft? I think I would invent some kind of brain-scan printer that would pick up what I’m imagining and print it in 3-D.
Describe the personality of your favorite piece of gear. She’s willful and free-spirited and speaks Italian.
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever charged a battery? A few years back my cousin and I took a motorcycle trip, and I had to build a harness so I could charge my cell phone on my bike. I think the strangest place on that trip was Death Valley.
Have you ever roughed up a piece of gear to make it work? Yes, I had an old brick cell phone that got soaked. It no longer worked, but I can’t stand throwing anything away, so I decided to take it apart. I found a little charred black spot as if something had burned. I decided to cut it out with my Dremel tool and then reassemble the phone. It worked! But every ten hours or so the screen would light up and start to flash. Then it just needed to be turned off and on again.
What constitutes abuse of technology? I don’t really know, but I bet if you ask the government they can give you some good tips.
What’s the most valued piece of equipment you’ve broken? I burnt up the transmission in my first car; that was no fun.
Did you have a Friendster account? Do you still? A what?
What was the first piece of equipment you ever loved? Probably my laser-disc player.
How has gear influenced your work? I don’t really use a lot of gear in my work apart from my welder, but gear certainly has helped me network with the art community.
What piece of gear do you covet, and why? I’d like to have a nice Bridgeport lathe or a CNC machine. Because it’s the closest thing to my brain-scan imagination machine.
What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done with a piece of technology? Hmmm ... I microwaved a CD once.
Digital or analog? Digital is all right for convenience, but only analog has a soul.
If you could have any job at a tech company, what would it be? I would be in charge of taking sharpies from the supply room and folding paper airplanes.
What do you think of Steve Jobs? I don’t.