Brief Project Timeline

1977 - That's when I read my first Cordwainer Smith story - Norstrilia, while attending The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington up in the Pacific Northwest. I absolutely loved it, both the book (and the college.) After graduating in 1981, I eventually moved back home to Marin County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. I wasn' t very well prepared to get a conventional job but did have a strong interest in science and high-tech stuff, especially space exploration. During my college years I traveled long distances to see several NASA launches (and landings!) and was quite enthralled to see such historic events first-hand. I was ready to make a jump into the future myself only I didn't quite know where to start.

1986 - Opportunity knocked: Luckily, I was able to begin studying the new field of computer graphics at the first school specifically designed to teach it, the Computer Arts Institute (CAI), then located in Marin County. CAI was co-founded by the Lucasfilm Ltd. PIXAR project leader, Rodney Stock, in 1985. Trust me, anyone seeing the Star Wars trilogy would have jumped at the chance to get into his school. At CAI, I mainly learned how to make computer paintings. I also got to know Harold Hedelman, the other co-founder of CAI. (If it hadn't been for Harold's long-term support and encouragement, it's doubtful that I would be working as a computer graphics artist today.) If you're interested, there are now several of my very first images dating from 1986 seen here online for the first time. Now, back to the Cordwainer project.....

1989 -That summer I finished reading nearly all the other Cordwainer Smith stories and just couldn't get some of the images out of my mind. Right at that time, I was still attempting to become a computer graphics artist, but I had switched to the Center for Electronic Art in San Francisco, which Harold had started on his own in 1987. So, in August, 1989, working as a CEA teaching assistant in exchange for free classes, I first began work on what later developed into the present 160th Century Worlds Tour. It all began with this image of the Gem Planet, created with a long-lost program called Lumena-16.

Sketch for  Earthport 3D model, 1994  Sketch for Ornithopter 3D model, 1994

1994: Before building my first Earthport model in 3D,  I used the cover artwork from The Best of Cordwainer Smith as a guide and made the two sketches above. That paperback cover was created by Darrell Sweet and was so captivating that I was determined to try building a three-dimensional model based on it. That was easier said than done because I had only barely started learning the 3D program a few months before.

Well, I must have learned how to do it because..........

Fast forward to the 59th World Science Fiction Convention (Millennium Philcon) in Philadelphia, Aug. 30 - Sept. 3, 2001. I was there to meet Rosana Hart, Cordwainer Smith's daughter and help launch the Cordwainer Smith Foundation and first Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award.

Rosana and I at the Hugo Awards ceremony, where the first "Cordwainer" was about to be awarded. It had been a long but fun four days!