Tempus Thales


Tempus Thales

Tempus Thales is the handle (borrowed from Thieves' World fantasy series) of an influential ANSI artist and leader of iCE Advertisements in the early 1990s.

The group originally specialized in the creation of ANSI artwork for BBSes and MCGA graphics. During the BBS-era, their biggest competitor was a group called ACiD Productions. The ANSi scene was in a continual state of flux, with artists moving from group to group, also groups would merge and restructure, but iCE was generally seen by artists as the most prestigious group mostly due to the artistic leadership and prolific, voluminous production of Tempus Thales, also the sysop of the Sanctuary BBS in Coral Springs, Florida. If not necessarily the most visually stunning ANSi artist of his time, Tempus Thales influence is far-reaching and undeniable. To complete as many ANSi's as he did, Tempus Thales worked mostly with shading characters, spending less time nitpicking smaller compositions with the more obscure high-ascii shapes. It is undeniable that iCE was a large, powerful group, but Tempus Thales was the recognized, prolific leader of the ANSi movement, the Picasso, the Monet of his time.

Tempus Thales advantage was that he worked large and fast--figures would scroll down for several pages, leaping off the screen, telling a story. He often worked from comicbooks and videogame magazines and would borrow ideas from other artists. He devised a large "TT" signature which was displayed at the top of most of his ANSi's--the letters were blue and surrounded by a "silver" outline which was achieved using only the very simple CGA colors, dark-gray, light-gray and white (8, 7, and 15 in TheDraw respectively). The effect looked like polished chrome, no doubt a popular sci-fi "cyberpunk" look during the 1980's. This polished, cold, chrome look floating in the dark, defined "iCE" once and for all, this was the strength and signature-style of iCE.

The background of most ANSi's were black due to the limitations of ANSi. Background colors could be "mixed" with foreground colors with shading characters, but this was only possible with the darker shades of red, blue, cyan, green and a brownish/orange, so when using background colors it was very difficult or impossible to define "crisp" edges. The end result was that most artists at this time in the 1990's (at the height of ANSi art innovation) chose to work in a dark tenebrous style first made popular by Caravaggio, and later videogames--the look that combined with the cold blues and chrome silvers of iCE, defining the damp, dark, wet and cold, mechanical underbelly of what was to become the global, powerful, commercial internet.

Tempus Thales reach extended locally to BBS in the 305 and 407 areacodes (Southeastern Florida), such as The Citadel (305), Asylum (407) and Zap! (305 and 407) but with iCE and with public/private message networks and "couriers", the Tempus Thales artwork spread all over the world, now directly and indirectly influencing an entire new generation of artists, discovering their origins by way of iCE, the first community of artists to collaborate/exhibit artwork via an international (privately owned) computer network. William Gibson's dark, jacked-in Neuromancer cyberspace-fantasy universe became real, with ACiD and iCE ushering in a new era, a new branch of art history. Artists and BBS near Tempus Thales in the 305 areacode flourished because of the strong presence of IBM in Boca Raton, home of the very first IBM PC to ever roll down the assembly line, and the home of large, influential RBBS systems run by local IBM employees in the area.

Artwork

[http://knowingart.com/rmx-tbg.pngimage] "Remix" of the original "Black Gate" ANSi from 1992 by Tempus Thales: Tempus Thales several page rendition of a blue-and-gray Batman angry with fists up, snarling, in falling, scrolling rain--this ANSi was a crowning moment in the history of iCE, and in the history of Art. [http://knowingart.com/5412.pngimage]

This bold, bitmapped, contrasty transfigured Batman in the icy rain by Tempus Thales, was symbolic of the angst and power and soul of the iCE movement, the youthful, adolescent, rising, creative energy of an emerging, transfigured cyberspace. The vertical push-pull effect achieved by the rain falling "down", while slowly scrolling upwards off the screen, was stunning, powerful, dramatic and complex, with Batman at the bottom, reaching into the storm--this was Tempus Thales reaching out to other artists in the dark from behind his CRT. The overall concept for ACiD on the other hand, went with reds and greens--a dangerous, acidic, underground-sewage "toxic waste" look.

Many artists duplicated the TT signature look at the top of their pages and room for this was made possible with TheDraw, the most popular ANSi drawing program at the time. Tempus Thales really pushed artists to work bigger and to do longer multi-page ANSis. Due to the artistic leadership of Tempus Thales, iCE was very desirable both by BBS needing art, and by artists wanting to be affiliated with iCE, resulting in a very stable group, absorbing other ANSi groups such as GRiM (led by Force Ten).

[http://knowingart.com/tt-jrc.pngimage] Another Tempus Thales ANSi from 1993, with the new "TT" signature at the top.


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