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Celebrating Java Technology Through Art

Posted by hiheiss on June 29, 2005 at 10:14 AM PDT

It’s so inspiring to watch gifted artists at work. Their art is alive with color and imagination. Sun brought six gifted artists to the 2005 JavaOne Conference with the goal of raising $5000 for the Foundation for a College Education (FCE) of East Palo Alto, California, which Sun has supported for ten years, about as long as Java technology has existed. All during that time, Sun employees have volunteered their time tutoring students to help them become the first of their families to graduate from high school or college. This year, silent auctions take place until noon every day of the JavaOne conference through Wednesday and then Wednesday night the live auction occurs at the After Dark party from 7:45 to 8:15 in Hall A prior to comedian Dennis Miller’s performance.

What exactly is Java-inspired art? The idea is that Java developers are also artists who call upon inspiration and the creative imagination in creating their code, an insight that Sun’s Richard Gabriel has articulated as well as anyone. ( The presence of the artists at the 2005 JavaOne Conference implicitly confirms what Gabriel says:

’Writing software should be treated as a creative activity. Just think about it -- the software that's interesting to make is software that hasn't been made before. Most other engineering disciplines are about building things that have been built before. People say, "Well, how come we can't build software the way we build bridges?" The answer is that we've been building bridges for thousands of years, and while we can make incremental improvements to bridges, the fact is that every bridge is like some other bridge that's been built. Someone says, "Oh, let's build a bridge across this river. The river is this wide, it's this deep, it's got to carry this load. It's for cars, pedestrians, or trains, so it will be kind of like this one or that one.’ They can know the category of bridge they're building, so they can zero in on the design pretty quickly. They don't have to reinvent the wheel.”

Gabriel points out that we’ve only been building software for 50 years and each time we do it, it’s fairly new. Gabriel says we should train developers the same way we train painters and poets. Sounds good to me.

The artists:

Tim Gaskin of San Francisco( said this about his work: “Besides the fact that I am first and foremost a colorist, my paintings are about how celebrities stand at premieres wearing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of clothes and jewelry and get their picture taken in front of logos which are then sent out all over the world. They represent brands, and even become them because they are so overexposed."

Graffiti artist VULCAN, from the South Bronx area of Manhattan, has work exhibited in the Graffiti Hall of Fame ( in New York City.

New Yorker Eric Orr, ( also a noted graffiti artist, got his start painting graffiti on the New York subway system. Orr, who has made a name for himself as a graphic artist designing logos for entertainers, boasts an impressive list of clients, including Afrika Bambaataa, The Cosby Show, Public Enemy, Fat Joe and Jive Records.

From crayons to krylon, Leon “Tes One” Bedore ( has been creating art on walls for the majority of his life. Tes One became a serious street artist in 1992, painting murals and graffiti art throughout the Tampa Bay, Florida, area. In 1999, expanding on his natural artistic abilities in line with the computer age, he began to develop compelling graphic design and web pages for a number of clients. Now, he combines all that he knows from his street-art roots and his digital design profession to create art that accurately reflects his perspective on the world around him.

Brian Ermanski or “BE” of Manhattan, often described as a naïve/ignorant/outsider artist and downtown living NYC legend, has sold more than 70 of the 110 paintings he has produced to date.

Casey O’Connell, currently of San Francisco by way of Florida, recently came to the attention of John Doffing, curator of The Start SOMA Gallery in San Francisco, where all of the paintings in her first group show sold.

Come watch artists in the midst of their creative process. I'm really tempted to bid on some of this
art myself.

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