Computer Baby Pictures from GREE part one, 1982

“I went to computer graphics with a baby on my mind.” Glenn Howarth’s involvement with Telidon graphics coincided with the birth of his only child in 1982. “Since painting and drawing were going poorly and the opportunity arose to work in Telidon computer graphics, I put aside my freedom, dressed in a jacket and tie, and did what I thought responsible fathers-to-be should do, walking down to the office each day, working in full colour with an electric pen.”

Computer Baby Pictures was likely made in 1982/83 during the early part of Howarth’s residency at David Godfrey’s Softwords company. It is part of a larger set of images Howarth made as part of his art practice. The landscape that builds up in the latter half of the sequence represents the view from Howarth’s Rockland apartment, and local landmarks such as Christ Church Cathedral are visible in the background.

Vegetarian Nightmare from GREE part two, c. 1983

Glenn Howarth described the genesis of the Vegetarian Nightmare sequence in an undated slide lecture: “I hadn’t eaten meat in about seven years. And I went to a formal dinner, and I had a bleeding steak … and the nightmares I had all week … never again. These are some of the nightmares, like a steak laying on top of a coal bucket. The cow jumped over the moon and the moon was a steak, and […] pseudo animation allowed me to get that steak to drip blood.”

Starfish Crucifixion from 1984 NAPLPS

During its brief existence, the Telidon standard went through two major versions, Telidon 699 which was superceded in 1983 by a second version called variously Telidon 709 and NAPLPS. The second version significantly increased the range of colours available and introduced a number of other new features. In 1983/84 Glenn Howarth was awarded a Canada Council grant funding his transition from 609 to NAPLPS. During this period he worked as an artist in residence in the Computer Science department at the University of Victoria, providing user feedback to a team developing NAPLPS image creation software.

Starfish Crucifixion is one of three NAPLPS works by Howarth listed in Consortel, a catalogue of Telidon resources published in March 1985. Howarth describes the work as follows:

  1. A red-pink starfish appears on the fringe of a beach towel beside a cream and tan thigh
  2. From above looking down the starfish is on the thigh
  3. From a worm’s-eye perspective a flesh-coloured crucifix rises steeply against a blue-green sky. Four extra cross arms at forty-five degrees radiate out between the horizontal and vertical members. The starfish is layed [sic] out on the six radials and pinned there by multi-coloured spikes.


John Durno, UVic Libraries