Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 3, Page T-6 1995 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 dyes. "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."