12/13/1997 - Oakland Press
Artist helps Netizens peruse DIA collection
By ALICE RHEIN
Special To The Oakland Press
"I tried to make the experience very similar to what it's like walking through a gallery," says Stephen Goodfellow as he assumes the role of cyber-docent for a guided tour of the Detroit Institute of Arts Visual Resources gallery - the online museum he helped create. "If I had my druthers, I would have the floors creak as you moved across the screen."
Last summer, the 44-year-old native of Britain and computer artist helped launch the DIA's site, making it one of the first art museums anywhere to have a searchable database. While most gallery sites are linear and follow one path. the DIA's has sophisticated graphics and hyperlinks that allow the viewer to choose what to see and what to build.
Click "by category" and you're asked what medium and geographic location you wish to enter. Scroll horizontally and view images of photographs, sculptures, paintings and decorative arts; click any one of them for a larger picture and written details of the work. Type Chagall or any other artist's name and a few thousand bytes later, a microgallery of their works emerge.
More than 2000 images are currently in the virtual gallery, including works by local artists who have little chance of ever finding them on the walls. After all, more than half of the DIA's 60,000-plus collection is housed in storage.
"My friends, who are artists, have works, like mine, that are hidden in the vaults in the DIA where no one gets to see. All of the sudden this is available. not only to the public in Detroit, but all over the world. It's a mindblower," says Goodfellow; clicking on his own micropointillistic painting "Parallel Universe."
"After having created it. I come back to it all the time," he says, perched at a Macintosh with dual monitors. his hyper dog Ricky at his side. "It is so delightful to look at these and let my eyes rest for awhile.'
Indeed. the inspiration for Goodfellow's latest
artwork from his virtual studio is a take-off on
Bruegel's "The Wedding Dance," which can be
found in the DIA's collection. "I'm putting the
final touches on a contemporary version of it," he
says with a little chuckle that reveals his fiendish
sense of humor.
Goodfellow's style began 20 years ago when he was a
graduate student in Fine arts at Wayne State University.
"I was experimenting with cross-pollinating some of
the more delicious attributes of intaglio with
lithography (both print-making techniques)," he
writes in the 'short history' section of his multifaceted
His animation "Nude on the Rocks" is an example of this oscillating medium in which the three primary colors are formed in sequence to create the entire spectrum of secondary colors.
And today, the radiating medium is his only palette.
Goodfellow also teaches two Web design courses at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. And few artists in the metro area - perhaps the country - are as adept at creating imaginative Web sites.
His own Web site is a delightfully witty collection of his artwork along with a how-to guide to radiative primarism and micropointillism for aspiring computer artists. It also includes his Honduran Notebook with photos from a recent trip, the Intrepid Traveler's Guide to Detroit, and a missive on his alternate theory of gravity titled "Can Gravity be Induced?"
Goodfellow also got a leg up on the mass media this
summer when a tornado partially tore the roof off of his
Highland Park home. "If you go to
http://goodfelloweb.com/storm you'll see the storm that
hit us. Our electricity went out, but I had my little
digital camera and went out and took pictures.
Last month was the first time his site got so many
viewers that he was charged an additional access fee, but
he doesn't seem to mind. "I make money off the Web.
I build Web sites for people, and it's worked out very
well for me," he says.
The DIA Visual Resources gallery URL is at http://www.diamondial.org
Stephen Goodfellow's Web site is http://goodfelloweb.com
(Alice Rhein is an Oakland County-based free-lance writer She profiles area artists once a month.)