This is a topic i'm sure a few people have thought of already, but sparked my interest again after reading the reminiscing thread. Just how long can the scene survive? The lowrez scenes, such as ascii, ansi, rip, that is.
We all know that the hirez scene can, and will (and already has) start drawing from people who have had nothing to do with the artscene in any sense of the manner, such as bbsing or just enthusiasts. But one who draws hirez graphics will, for the most part, start independantly, either because of the need for graphics for a site they may be creating or just because its fun. Such artists have already been picked up by the likes of iCE, and will continue to happen. The hirez scene will forever have a pool of talent to draw from (unless new mediums come and replace the mainstream).
However, it is not so for the lowrez scenes. Those of us who draw rip, ascii and ansi are a dying bread, to say the least. With the collapse of bbsing, and the takeover by the internet, these mediums cherished by us no longer get any/much exposure, and will, eventually die out. The new feed of artists is at an all time low, and there is no real way to promote the mediums in our current state. Its fairly obvious that the internet is here to stay, and a bbs revival just isnt plausible. In our current state, i give our lowrez scenes just a few more years.
With this topic being sparked, you also have to look at what can be done to help SAVE our scene. Since bbsing just wont be coming back, and the lack of exposure to the outside world (who, without knowing, is missing out on on of the most interesting art experiences there has ever been) is as low as ever, pretty much only one thing has come to me as a way to get a new talent pool. Taking our lowrez artforms out of the underground is a sure step to new blood, and i think its a good idea, as well.
At first, i was against this. Taking our precious scene out of the underground and having it subject to everyone and their dog, would most certainly attract a few bad apples. However, the pros outway the cons. The viewing audience would also increase, and no longer would we simply be drwaing for a small number of other 'underground' dewllers, but the whole world. Drawing ansi would no longer really be a hobby, but be considered a real artform. Anyhow, what do you all think?
By Quip (cap-026.capcollege.bc.ca - 126.96.36.199) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 10:18 am:
What you're saying is positive and all, but this concept is similar to saying, "Why don't we bring back the horse and carriage? Who needs cars?"
While some would rather ride in a carriage, and save gas money, the majority of the art-viewing public won't.
It's a large step, however it could prove to be an interesting venture for the ANSI scene to partake in.
By filth (svcr-94ppp74.epix.net - 188.8.131.52) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 12:58 pm:
i think for the last few years ansi has sort of taken its own path, and most people are just drawing for the sake of drawing. i guess you could say that the lack of bbs's do impact the ansi scene, but i don't think it'll eventually die becuase of it.
and honestly i don't think the influx of boards'll help much. i sure as hell won't think "wow! there's a lot of boards up, i'm gonna draw twice as much!@" :)
By dangermouse (px1.syd.aone.net.au - 184.108.40.206) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 01:36 pm:
In all honesty, people have been saying the scene was going to die since '94 (and even before this) and the scene is still kicking along. I do agree however that there is a steady decline in the amount of new blood in the ansi ranks -- and I'm sure the same can be said of our ascii cousins.
Lum, How would you expose the ANSI scene to the greater world? I mean, there are other ANSI scenes out there too, which is demonstrated by Dave's Ansi Board, where numerous 'non-scene' artists (and requesters) post messages.
Do you think contacting this scene is viable? As Quip said its a big step, and shit, if we invite people from other scenes to partake in ours too, we may get a few of those bad apples..
By Leonardo.iCE (gatekeeper2.monsanto.com - 220.127.116.11) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 02:14 pm:
The people who post on Dave's ansi board do not belong to a scene at all. Its mostly requests for PD boards and door games, there are a few ansi artists not part of our scene that draw for these people and sometimes release what they call a pack. I seen a couple of their websites and its mentioned that THEY use aciddraw and make many other references to OUR scene, I guess their just not good enough or are just not interested in the ansi scene.
There is only ONE ansi scene (in my opinion).
anyways.. i just dont think there Is any other ansi artists out there (besides us) right now, so instead of find them, we need to make them. I would suggest trying to educate mainstream artists about ansi art, maybe trying to target in on artists who are willing to try new things and are up for a challenge.
iCE's V2 -MAY- help out in this, a brand new scene-related website may attract some new blood.
By Argon (wlv-a4-d0024.ftel.net - 18.104.22.168) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 04:05 pm:
Want an influx of new artists?
Make ANSI controversial.
By darkmage (adsl-151-201-20-52.bellatlantic.net - 22.214.171.124) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 07:38 pm:
Argon is close to the heart of the matter there. The ANSI medium needs something new.
One of the main reasons that hirez will always grow and flourish is that there are new things constantly being added to it. New software to work with. New hardware capabilities.
The ANSI medium itself lacks this ability to grow with technology. Does it make a difference whether you look at an ANSI at 1024x or 320x resolution? Does it matter if your viewing it on a $5 512k video card or a $2500 31Mb card? Not really. ANSI artists just don't have anything new to play with. When was the last time a new ANSI proggie came out? When was the last time even a new feature for an ANSI proggie came out?
Sure, bring back the BBS glory days so that ANSI artists will have some purpose other than their own entertainment, but the artists will still eventually get tired. Half the fun and motivation of doing digital artwork is the challenge of working with something new. When the challenge is gone, much of the inspiration goes with it, regardless of the medium. It becomes too much like a job.
By dangermouse (px1.syd.aone.net.au - 126.96.36.199) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 08:11 pm:
Leo, I seriously think there are other people out there who dabble in ansi art from time to time. I mean, I have come across ascii artists who know nothing of the underground ascii scene, and seem to think that their scene is the only one..
By God among Lice (bootp-231-230.bootp.virginia.edu - 188.8.131.52) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 10:13 pm:
"ANSI artists just don't have anything new to play with. When was the last time a new ANSI proggie came out? When was the last time even a new feature for an ANSI proggie came out? "
Hmm.. try yesterday. :)
I guess you haven't been following the development with xbin.. Partly because of xbin/adf, there HAVE been new ansi editors released recently, and in fact I think you could say there's a mini renaissance of sorts, with skaboy working on empathy, and eto working on pablodraw. And yea, these programs have new features.
You want a new development in ansi, just look at the whole xbin craze that happened recently. Sure, it seems to have fizzled a little lately, but ansi artists really DO have something new to play with. It's exactly what you described that they didn't have, yet it exists.
A feeling I have is that ansi is surely never going to (once again?) become some great artform, but I see no reason at all why the tradition should die out altogether anytime soon.
As a hirez artist, I feel sort of like one of the french impressionist painters of the late 19th century that were influenced by Japanese prints. Or maybe like Picasso influenced by African masks and stuff. Their inspirations weren't widely known to the larger public, yet they definitely had a strong effect, if indirectly. I feel a strong influence from ansi and textmode art... The ideas found in it, choosing from different blocks to make up a whole, have really made me think carefully about the larger medium that we're all drawing in.. the digital one. And additionally I see connections to other forms of art in recent history. Maybe people will stop drawing ansi for the most part eventually, but it's place in relation to the digital arts is planted firmly. If anyone of importance ever does pick up on this significance, ansi or similar forms of art could actually end up being practiced a little by other people in the future. People who do it to acknowledge the old art and tip their hat to what it started, and keep the artform from being forgotten.
Ok, so all that's pretty far-fetched, I must admit. But in short, the best way to keep ansi alive is to think broad-mindedly.. what has it contributed, how could it relate to other art out there, could something new be formed out of the ansi tradition that is more technologically relevant? A little self-promotion sure wouldn't hurt. Eventually you'll have to give up on maintaining an active scene of artists, and concentrate more on curating and promoting the relevancy of this future lost art.
By Cthulu of Mistigris (cr618396-a.crdva1.bc.wave.home.com - 184.108.40.206) on Monday, February 15, 1999 - 11:17 pm:
People who proclaim the death of textmode graphics are as premature as the people who proclaim the death of command-line operating systems.
As long as the internet has a unix backbone, ascii art at least will remain in demand.
Beyond that consideration - if the scene remains distinctly self-focused, with the BBS scene taken away from us it will undergo a gradual but real decline in population. This isn't entirely bad - a smaller scene makes it more possible for one motivated individual or group of people to radically change the course of events which guide this scene, but again, a smaller group of individuals means fewer minds behind the medium to produce the ideas.
If the scene can shrink to the point where outmoded groups are no longer the standard but instead different schools, cultivating and maintaining stylistic differences and divergences become the standard, then it may mature from an obscure craft practiced by only a few people to something which manages to capture the attention of the public and becomes disseminated by artistic-minded people everywhere in the same manner as other 'new media' of this century - collage, photography, and even photomanipulation.
For that to happen, however, people have to start taking their abilities and time-investments seriously. Nobody stays on a sinking ship "just for fun."
By warpus (gateway-g1.londonlife.com - 220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 05:40 am:
if something as silly and ridiculous as the catholic church can survive for 2,000 years, then I don't see how we could let the "lo-rez" scene die before it turned 20.
By root88 ( - 18.104.22.168) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 08:42 am:
"One of the main reasons that hirez will always grow and flourish is that there are new things constantly being added to it. New software to work with. New hardware capabilities.
The ANSI medium itself lacks this ability to grow with technology. Does it make a difference whether you look at an ANSI at 1024x or 320x resolution? Does it matter if your viewing it on a $5 512k video card or a $2500 31Mb card? Not really. ANSI artists just don't have anything new to play with. When was the last time a new ANSI proggie came out? When was the last time even a new feature for an ANSI proggie came out? "
Who cares? When's the last time a special new paint brush came out that lets you oil paint people in 3d with one paint stroke? Has traditional art ever died? People are still making cave paintings in my city. I think that the biggest problem with hirez is all the toys. Newbies jump in and use all these new programs (Poser/Bryce/Kai's Power Tools) and have no skill at all. Other hirez people know it's garbage, but no one else can seem to tell very well. If the scene gets taken over by this crap, I'ld consider it dead and leave myself.
By inazone (ip181.msp.primenet.com - 22.214.171.124) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 09:03 am:
I think the problem with the artscene, ansi especially, comes back to the place of origin. I don't mean the BBS specifically, but geographically, North America was the breeding ground for the big artboards and groups. In the past couple of years, there's been far more new artists and groups popping up in Europe, Australia, and even historically low-tech places like Russia. In the U.S. and Canada, computers are commonplace. When I got my first modem and got into BBSing in 1992, I was 16. Nobody younger than 16 was into BBSing then, at least not in my area. People didn't buy computers. Then Win95 came out, prices dropped, and every 12 year-old kid had a PC with a modem. They flooded the local boards, and eventually AOL and the Internet in general.
It's the people who haven't had access to PCs and expensive software that will be attracted to ansi. We just need to get it in front of them. I don't exactly know how, but that's where we'll find our next generation of ansi artists. We can't expect them to draw at high skill levels. Think back to `92 or `93 -- the "masters" at the time weren't as good as many of the ansi artists today, but they were still new to the medium. We just need to get ansi in front of the people who will appreciate the simplicity, and let them get the hang of it.
By thext (cr618396-a.crdva1.bc.wave.home.com - 126.96.36.199) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 10:43 am:
Ansi art might get killed by lack of hardware support. The PC98 specifications didn't have "textmode support". If Windows 2000 doesn't need
to do any textmode, you will see many manufacturers jumping in and not support text mode. Of course, that still leaves us roughly 10 years to doodle, just as much time as the scene's age, but still. The scene's demise might come from the outside.
Anyway. I think this is a pretty stupid thread. Go draw, and you won't have to ask that question.
By dangermouse (px1.syd.aone.net.au - 188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 01:20 pm:
HAha.. Here here..
But I think what the initial question posed in this thread is this: HOw are we going to get new people to join the scene.. This is indeed something to be discussed further..
By filth (svcr216-37-167ppp54.epix.net - 184.108.40.206) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 01:50 pm:
personally, i'd rather see the scene die, then let it go on from a buncha aol newbies.
now, i wasn't around when ansi first got popular, i didn't find out about ansi art until 94, and i didn't get into the scene until 95. i think i'm one of the first newschoolers. as time goes on, the newbies in the scene will look back at the bbs age, as we do for say midevil times. they'll only know about it from people like us, who were on boards.
but i don't want a bunch of daddies boys getting involved in this, and NEVER even seen a bbs. it'll just give the ansi scene a really bad name.
the ansi scene is still pretty underground. i like the fact that people come to us, instead of us comming to them. to be a good ansi artist, i think you should _want_ to be an ansi artist. not some kid clicking around the web and come across something saying "join the ansi scene!"
oh, and root88, i like your comparison of the painter and paintbrush thing. nice. :)
By darkmage (adsl-151-201-20-52.bellatlantic.net - 220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 04:47 pm:
"Who cares? When's the last time a special new paint brush came out that lets you oil paint people in 3d with one paint stroke? "
Ah, so you still work in CGA then? Maybe you made it past that and became satisfied with, say, 320x200 256 colors? No? You moved with technology when SVGA came around? Did you stick with hi-color when 24bit became readily available?
Do you still use Deluxe Paint? Made it past that maybe to Animator Pro? Ah, you kept going and moved to Windows programs. Did you stick with that first version of Photoshop, or do you keep getting the latest?
Hi-res has changed because the tools available have changed dramatically. If the hardware world had stagnated, so too would the hi-res art. Our tools have moved from monochrome visions to more colors than the human eye can even differentiate between.
Now, what new things can the ANSI world do? Hrmm....still 16 colors....still 80 characters wide...same character set.... What new things do new hardware and software technologies allow you to do with ANSI? What impact has 16.8 million colors had on an ANSI artist's ability to create their art? What difference does it make to an ANSI artist whether their screen resolution is 1280x1024? Absolutely none.
By pinguino (leper.org - 18.104.22.168) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 09:06 pm:
i like inazone's approach.. sounds like it'll be the newer artists from various countries now who will be the people to draw in talent.. creating more small groups that will eventually grow. Our job would be to encourage the growth of that, and to support the newer members of our scene. As long as that happens, we'll have a steady group of active artists. We have the means at hand to do this.
By dangermouse (px1.syd.aone.net.au - 22.214.171.124) on Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - 09:10 pm:
I would have to agree with both inazone and pingy on this. Russia and Euro seem to be the boom areas of the last few years..
But what can we do except be nice to them? Any ideas on how to draw more ppl from these areas into the scene? I mean, we already have HRG, PLF and numerous other Euro groups already doing that..
PS. Any of the Russian or Euro bods want to chip in be my guest :)
By maestro ( - 126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, February 17, 1999 - 04:34 am:
i can bake them some cookies!
By warpus (gateway-g1.londonlife.com - 188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, February 17, 1999 - 05:48 am:
how about a online ansi contest (maybe monthly), and we'd only allow newbies to participate? sure, there might not be much interest at first, but we have to advertise it well. i've seen many pages that showcase 'clever ascii artwork made using characters'. true, most of those things are really ugly, but those people already enjoy drawing in lo-rez, so why not introduce them to ansi by having a contest? i don't think that many of them have seen an art pack.. maybe if they see what can be done, they'll get into it.
i think that the big misconception is that everybody hates ansi, and wouldn't touch it. that's not true at all. most people don't know what can and has been done. i've shown ansi to several people who have never seen it before, and they were ALL very impressed. hell, i've even found a windows-based ansi editor. i forget what it's called, and i'm not sure how many of you have come across it.. but you can actually buy it. it's really bad for things we use ansi for (you have to use a mouse to draw), but.. hey, it's out there.
and thext, i do realize that textmode might be eliminated completely very soon. so, i've been working on a lil' something that will ensure that this never happens.. but that's all i'm going to say.
By dangermouse (px1.syd.aone.net.au - 184.108.40.206) on Wednesday, February 17, 1999 - 01:39 pm:
A contest.. Hmm.. Interesting.. Are you proposing that newbies to the actual scene get involved in the comp, or just newbies in general?
You could call it "Blender for Kids" or something :)
By mongi (curium.k.kth.se - 220.127.116.11) on Thursday, February 18, 1999 - 03:25 am:
Most people I've shown ansi art to doesn't like it very much.. I've shown work from lots of great ansi artists, and they still aren't very impressed. When I tell them how it's done they get a bit fascinated, but still nothing extraordinary. Ansi is simply too ugly for people that doesn't know it.
By warpus (gateway-g1.londonlife.com - 18.104.22.168) on Thursday, February 18, 1999 - 05:40 am:
dangermouse: newbies in general, i guess.
mongi: true, but what i'm saying is.. there are people out there drawing really bad ascii, don't you think that they'd like what we're doing with ansi?
By Chicken Little ( - 22.214.171.124) on Thursday, February 18, 1999 - 12:07 pm:
The scene is falling!
The scene is falling!
- um duh
By Leonardo.iCE (gatekeeper2.monsanto.com - 126.96.36.199) on Thursday, February 18, 1999 - 12:14 pm:
do you think we want people who draw bad ascii to join our ansi scene? :)
By dangermouse (px1.syd.aone.net.au - 188.8.131.52) on Thursday, February 18, 1999 - 01:29 pm:
Warpus, ahh.. That sounds cool. That means you can organise the entire thing :) You ran blender so I don't see how this would be any different..
By warpus (gateway-g1.londonlife.com - 184.108.40.206) on Friday, February 19, 1999 - 05:35 am:
leo - i don't see why not.. there aren't many people in the scene that became kick-ass at what they do the minute they started drawing.
dangermouse: *i* can organize it? i don't have time :).. blender died because i was the guy doing most of the work.. sure, i had people helping out here and there, but i was prety much coordinating it all. i'll think about it though. i've been talking to hennifer about bringing back blender (pssst), i'll drop him a note and see what he thinks.
By Cthulu of Mistigris (cr618396-a.crdva1.bc.wave.home.com - 220.127.116.11) on Friday, February 19, 1999 - 06:51 am:
Warpus - talk to me and find someone who is a mad genius at bot scripting. Blender can be a lot less work than the way we were doing it 8)
By Leonardo.iCE (gatekeeper2.monsanto.com - 18.104.22.168) on Friday, February 19, 1999 - 10:25 am:
warpus, I know :) I was just joking. I think its a great idea, hitting up ascii artists in other scenes. Mainly because there are a lot of people who do ascii art who are unaware of us. Its apparent if you do a netsearch of ascii art or just look in the yahoo dir., But, as far as other ansi artists out there - seperate from the scene, I don't think there is very many left at all. there is some, but not very many, which is also apparent if you do a netsearch for ansi art.