Origin stories may be my favorite backstory. How did you find the scene, and what made you start to draw ansi?
When I started aBSiNTHE, I couldn’t find anyone to draw art for the board. So, I decided to teach myself. I always loved Amiga ASCII back in the day so I tried my hand at it and quickly became obsessed. My mother is a successful artist(father is a mainframe programmer) but I had always assumed that none of that was passed on to me. It turns out that all I needed was the right medium: …a computer keyboard and text characters? So bizarre. So yeah, I fell in love with drawing Amiga ASCII and started studying everything from 30 year old scene collies to current packs, experimenting with different techniques, and developing my own style. It’s been a lot of fun.
From what I remember I drew my first set of ANSIs for a BBS door game that me and a friend put together (World Class Soccer). By that point in time calling local area BBS’ was a daily ritual for me… so eventually it was only natural that I’d want to put up my own. This lead to me drawing ANSIs for it as well and getting more comfortable with the medium.
Lithium/isosceles of ice fame was a local area artist who supported and encouraged the formation of a local ANSI group. He ran a super 1337 BBS with really cool art and really hot warez so naturally we all looked up to him. This all lead to the formation of The Happyface Cult (THC), which became my first ever scene affiliation. That encouragement and help from lithium was key - he convinced us that this was something we could pull off… and that we had enough talent to produce packs worth looking at.
It was really the BBS scene that kept this going. The BBS meetups we organized allowed some of us to become closer friends… and by the time Lazarus came about (and even before that), artists like Hennifer, Epoxy, Agent#77, and me would hang out together on a regular basis, along with others from the YAK crew, a local LIT group. Others from the local scene, such as Catch22 would join in every once in a while as well.
A story I can’t help but tell here is when we saw an advertisement for an “ANSI picnic”, held about 100km away in the small town of Sarnia. Those organizing the picnic did not expect anybody to actually show up, let a lone a car packed full of ANSI artists from 100km away. And that’s how I met Grind King and Hachi. We all instantly clicked and are friends to this day.