ANSI art is a text/character-based form of digital art that was primarily used in software interfaces in the 80s and 90s, eventually being replaced by raster/pixel graphics. Being text-based was great for the slow computers and slow data connections of the era, but it severely limited the palette of shapes and colors that you could work with.
Artists banded together in art groups, and those groups released art packs approximately once a month. Most artists got their start in a regional group, and then moved on to groups that were based on specific styles or more commercially oriented groups.
I started in a group based in the Seattle area called RaT before jumping ship to a rival group named PaW, whose leader was planning on “taking the group national.” A few weeks later and after a name change, ANEMiA made a major splash in the ANSI scene affording me the opportunity to ply my craft with a variety of top shelf groups including CiA, FiRE, RiLE, and Samsara.
Faster computers, faster data connections, and the rise of the web saw the original functional purpose of ANSI fade away. The community frequently discussed what the future of the medium was. Many of the more commercially oriented artists dropped ANSI for pixel-based art and web design, while others, myself reveled in the limitations and continued on.
I was primarily a logo artist, at first creating graffiti inspired designs and then getting progressively more abstract. I started using the ANSI canvas for more experimental output before being pulled away by school and work.
Over the years, I have been fortunate to be invited to contribute art to a few revival groups and gallery shows, for which I create logos that say “ANSI,” “sammael” (my art moniker for that period of time), or renditions of individual letters of the alphabet.
The following is a selection of my work, in approximately the order in which they were created.