When we first opened this venue, not many artists wanted to
collaborate in our project, but some of them trusted us. This is
the case of the talented digital artist Ansgard Thomson. Today
more than a year ago after we first opened our virtual doors we
are very proud to present once again Ansgard Thomson to all our
digital community. She is an incredible woman that besides of
sensitivity and talent has a great sense of humor. Here are some
of her thoughts, enjoy it!
DAM: Where were you born?
Ansgard: I was born in Silesia, while it
was still part of Germany.
DAM: Where do you live now?
Ansgard: I live on a ranch in Alberta
DAM: Were you encouraged to become an artist
early in life?
Ansgard: Yes, I was encouraged to learn
about art at home, and in high school; I was encouraged to
surround myself with art and create art myself. But I was
discouraged from making my living from art by entering into
further academic art education after high school..
DAM: Who were your main influences in
becoming an artist?
Ansgard: I was influenced most by my
admiration for any person who was trying to become an artist,
including my father, uncle, brothers and sisters and friends.
DAM: How was your development as an artist
influenced by the course of world events in your youth?
Ansgard: Because of my living in Germany
during the Second World War where the Third Reich had taken over
the art scene, I had no field of interest in which to pursue art
other than taking photographs, mainly of nature and people. I had
a dream of becoming a filmmaker, at a later date. My uncle was
arrested as an outspoken artist and only survived when the
Russians occupied the prison he was in.
DAM: Were you involved in the European art
scene in the post-World War II era?
Ansgard: I was making a living as a
private pediatric nurse. My friends were all artists. My spare
time was spent learning more about art. As I was hired by a French
teacher in Germany to take care of her baby, she was able to take
me to Paris with a special permit in 1948. In Paris I found
permanent employment in a private maternity ward and lived there
until 1958. I was soon again involved in the art circles and was
able to educate myself with so much to see. I could not get enough
of it, but limited myself to the contemplation of the work of
others. I was somehow intimidated by some of the attitudes towards
woman artists and the general critical competition amongst the
artists, who were not always very nice to each other. The artists
whose works I liked the most were Picasso and Mattise, along with
DAM: When did you emigrate to Canada?
Ansgard: In 1959 I took up permanent
residence in Canada
DAM: Did your own career as an artist begin
in earnest before or after your move to Canada?
Ansgard: I knew after my stay in Paris,
that in order to become respected as an artist I would have to get
further education in a more formal setting and work on my
techniques and practice as much as possible.
DAM: How did you learn to be an artist?
Ansgard: I learned to be an artist by
taking Education Courses given by approved artists of the
University of Alberta Extension Department and regular art classes
in the community I live in. Many workshops given by well known
Alberta artists and daily practice on my own made me aware how to
prepare and offer my works for display .
DAM: When did you first begin to create
Ansgard: In 1993 I bought my first
computer with the intention of finding out what it could do.
DAM: Was this a reflection of dissatisfaction
with traditional media or simply a desire to explore a new
Ansgard: By nature I am an explorer of
media and always used different mediums mainly due to the fact I
was involved in many workshops over a long period of time. I also
wanted to explore abstract compositions with emphasis on color. I
saw a way of doing art as long as I live despite any infirmities
as an older person.
DAM: What appeals to you most about digital
Ansgard: The millions of colors I can
choose from and the effects I can achieve by either drawing,
painting or using filters and even sometimes scripts over my own
creations. It is never boring and the learning process is
self-directed at all times.
DAM: Is the computer now your exclusive
DAM: Your website features digital art in the
style of traditional painting. What prompted you to create this
series of works?
Ansgard: I am still a member of the
community art clubs association and have entered my works for the
juried shows every year, and the critical voices claim traditional
paintings cannot be done with a computer. I like to say it is
maybe a little more difficult to learn to use all the different
brushes in the different programs to achieve a good natural
painting that people in my own community can relate to. But with
practice, dexterity might even increase with the use of so many
different tools. It is great fun to learn to use as an example the
Flemish brush on an under painting. One still has to pick the
color and size of brush to achieve the famous Flemish brush
Watercolor brushes and just transparent colors layering over each
other in an abstract composition still require the skills one
learned from formal education in painting of watercolors. Painter
is probably the best program for such explorations.
DAM: Your website also features two examples
of Animation Art. What inspires you about this form of digital
Ansgard: I like to enhance my website
with my personal little animation works to share some joyful
moments with my visitors. I used to animate many of my works I
produced in Fractint, the program I used first, and I keep my
favorites on my website for the time being. As I consider my
website a "working place" as well as a showplace, things I am
working on might show up just for fun to entertain my visitors and
DAM: Does your work integrate digital
photography into the creation of digital works?
Ansgard: I try to keep digital
photography as a separate digital art form with is own
possibilities of enhancement and manipulation. I use filters or
subjects for paintings and for portraits. I do not own a scanner,
and the sharpness of digital photos is not as good as from a 35mm
Camera, and for that reason digital photos from my selections of
photos taken are great candidates for digital manipulation. I have
sold some prints from my portrait collections.
DAM: What is your biggest source of
inspiration for your work?
Ansgard: The older I get, the more I get
inspiration from what I can do with the computer day in and day
out that pleases me. As a colorist, there is no end to where it
will lead me to at any given time.
DAM: How do you feel when you are creating a
work of digital art?
Ansgard: Complete freedom from
preconceived notions of what I can do with the computer, whereas
any other art form would impose material limitations on my work. I
painted one acrylic painting on canvas from a digital painting
just to appreciate what another artist had done, before archival
prints were available.
DAM: What hardware and software do you employ
to create your digital art?
Ansgard: I have a Pentium 3, PS, a 17inch
screen Monitor, and a Wacom tablet. My software is mainly:
Photoshop 6.1 ,Painter 5, PSP, Fractint and several other programs
I found interesting to explore for two dimensional works.
DAM: According to your website, you make your
own prints of your works. What printing hardware and process do
you utilize to create your works?
Ansgard: When I won my first award in
Toronto for my high resolution prints made with my simple Canon
printer and was lectured by others to get my prints done by
commercial digital printers producing glicee prints at high cost
to me, I decided to study on the Internet what was taking place
with the new technology. I found the paper I liked and the Epson
2000P printer to produce my work in my own studio as archival
prints in small limited editions of five or on demand for some
DAM: Who are your favorite digital artists?
Ansgard: I have a long list of artists
about whom I like the way they have explored the possibilities to
do serious personal fine art with the computer and have links to
their sites on my website but find it rather difficult to identify
my work with any other digital artist.
DAM: What kind of support or feedback have
you gotten from other digital artists since you started promoting
your own art?
DigitalArtMuseum.com, and The Art League have helped me to be
better known outside Canada, as well as many more places where I
am listed. I do get invitations daily to enter my art in virtual
shows. I have made many friends on the Internet and this in itself
is important to me to share pictures and opinions and some
criticisms. As there are very few digital artists in Canada, we at
least talk about our adventures, not all very positive ones but
interesting enough as times are changing. Receiving some awards
for works that were my own favorites has encouraged me to carry
DAM: Have you ever been rejected for being a
Ansgard: Yes, but more out of
misunderstandings of my motives for exploring something that has
not made any progress in the marketplace. Most rejections have
come from print artists, who feel threatened by the new technology
allowing me to produce archival prints in my own studio on fine
art papers. Only after I presented some works to the University of
Alberta Extension for judging for a scholarship that I won were my
works included in the yearly show by the art organization I have
belonged to for the last twenty years.
DAM: Do you receive any economical support to
develop your works from an individual or an institution?
Ansgard: I have sold some digital prints
privately and found a gallery in Alberta taking works on
consignment. The scholarship from the university of $400.00 helped
me to cover some of my high cost of importing papers from the USA.
DAM: Where can we buy your artwork?
Ansgard: My artwork can be ordered
directly from me or from my representatives listed on my website.
I do not have a commercial site on the Internet but my prints can
be ordered by email directly from me. I will only produce 5 prints
of each image on 2 sizes of paper--8.5"x11" or 13"X19", at prices
from $250 to $500.00 or less in protected sleeves. I negotiate
discounts on portfolios of series of up 20 prints selected in
archival binders also limited in numbers to 5 of each image.
DAM: Is there anything you would like to add?
Ansgard: I have donated a portfolio of 17
prints of my virtual Millennium show at lastplace.com to the Fort
Assiniboine Museum. Digital Art in such an old historic place
might be more noticed than in museums in bigger cities. I am very
grateful to the DigitalArtMuseum.com for giving me the opportunity
for this interview
DAM: Thank you Ms Thomson.