Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 3, Page T-6
On Technology
A high-tech flair for art, modern and baroque

     Robert Pierosh, Delaware '94 of Lorettown, Pa., recently designed
artwork for a client's promotional mailer-without ever picking up a
paintbrush or pencil. Instead, he relied on the computer skills he
gained while earning a B.F.A. in photography and fibers. Because his
client sells computer systems to textile companies, Pierosh wanted to
design a futuristic, inviting logo. The result was a robotic-looking
mannequin standing inside a glowing red circle.
     "Design software really does enhance my creativity," says
Pierosh. "I can work more quickly on a computer, and I can play around
with ideas that might not have occurred to me if I were drawing
something freehand."
     Art students at Delaware like Pierosh use computers to create
graphic and advertising designs, to retouch photographs and to plan
fiber works before any fabric is cut or dyed.
     In a computer site equipped with workstations, students can
'scan' slides and other flat graphics into a computer and then modify
images electronically. By storing scanned images on a disc or a photo
CD, a student can even compile an electronic portfolio to supplement a
resume or job application. This art site features all major software
for page layout, drawing and photographic manipulation.
     Just as new colors may inspire an artist, computer-based design
technologies give students new ideas and options, Martha L. Carothers,
art department chairperson, says. "We wanted to provide students with
another tool that they could use in addition to the traditional media,
equipment and materials," she says. "We decided to integrate these new
technologies into our existing curriculum, instead of creating a new
'computer art major,' because we felt that this approach would broaden
students' creativity, rather than narrow it."
     The current job market for art majors demands computing skills,
adds Ray Nichols, professor of art and director of the Visual
Communications Program. "In the graphic design world, computers have
really taken over, and almost all print advertising is produced
digitally," he says. "Students in these fields absolutely must
understand computers because employers will expect them to be computer-
literate." For this reason, Nichols developed an interactive, multi-
media software that adds sound, video and pictures to his classroom
lectures. The technology lets Nichols and other art faculty create
exciting lessons that incorporate television commercials and magazine
advertisements into any lesson plan. Lessons may then be stored and
loaned to students for home study.
     In the textile industry, computerized design is beginning to help
cut costs and improve the quality of fiber products and artwork, says
Vera E. Kaminski, associate professor of art. "High end computers,
used in industry today, can 'look at' or simulate complex variables
such as how different fabrics drape, move, reflect light, interlace,
compose in repeat and even how various fibers and fabrics absorb the
     "Because of a computer's power to represent changes quickly, the
artist/designer has more control over the outcome of the creative
process. Designers can experiment with electronic conceptual designs
or use traditional media (real fabric) or a combination of both.
Hopefully, computer-aided design also will give consumers more
influence over products available in the marketplace. Pretty soon, you
might be able to walk into a furniture store and use a touch screen to
preview your fabric selections, as color and pattern simulations are
mapped onto your furniture's shape."
     Because of the University's support for computerized design,
Kaminski says, students tend to perform well in important competitions
sponsored by such organizations as the Computer Integrated Textile
Design Association.
     Art history students now have around-the-clock access to famous
paintings from their residence hall rooms. David Stone, assistant
professor art history, uses an on-line index of digitized photographic
images in his course, Baroque Art. "The students enjoy the course
more," Stone says. "It brings a new dimension to my classes and gives
my students the opportunity to really study the class materials on
their own time and at their own pace. They can broaden their
understanding of the material by spending their own time referencing
and cross-referencing class materials."