I have wanted to build an archive of ASCII art for years. I have masses of text files with ASCII art collected in files, some of it I even began trying to sort out. However, it is a much bigger and messier project than I expected. To start with, how do you sort it all out so people can find it? By original artist would be nice but – it is hard to be sure who the original artist is in many cases and I don’t think many people would be searching by artist since most have no idea who they were anyway.
Anyway, I create my own ASCII art. I began in 1998 with the newsgroups which are now a part of Google. Thank you to Google for preserving those old newsgroups – they even kept them current so you can continue making posts as if nothing has changed. But, the newsgroups changed and most people moved on when the spam over loaded the content.
I knew Joan Stark, Llizard, Veronika, Hayley and many others from those newsgroup days of alt.ascii-art (I may not have that exactly right, it’s been a long time). Joan Stark became a mystery, she just disappeared one day. I have tried to track her down but no luck. Llizard and Hayley I did find and have sent notes the odd time.
But, the old days of ASCII art are gone. It isn’t used in email signatures now. Email became HTML and stuck with that. I protested at the time. It was doomed by marketing – people wanted to use HTML to spam email better. So they did, still do. But, I still have my email set to text only just to spite them all. Small and meaningless revenge makes me feel a tiny bit better.
ASCII art is not completely dead. It is sadly not always what I would call ASCII art. I will never think of mechanically produced text art pictures as true ASCII art. If you did not pick and choose each letter, number and character to create your picture then you don’t have ASCII art. Anyone can scan a picture into text – that doesn’t make it art just a copy of the original. You rely on the software to do all the work and software can’t replace a human who is less than perfect but can see things with emotion and use their intelligence to make unique choices. Machines lack that feature, so far.
Why am I putting up this site after all this blabbing about ASCII art…? I want to show my own work and I want to promote ASCII art as a whole. I don’t want ASCII art to fall off the sidelines into history as some dorky, geeky fad that time forgot. I don’t like to see people mock it (that includes the computer produced art versus the human produced art). I want to see the ASCII artists remembered along with the art they created.
Is that too much to ask? Probably not. But, it is a pretty big project to take on. Wish me luck!
You can read more about me and my other posts for the WordPress Blogging 101 challenge and my other sites.