Stephen Bell has used computer programming to explore and celebrate how we perceive and interpret complex patterns in the social interaction of humans and other animals, forces of nature and geometry since the late 1970’s. Bell began using computer programming as a postgraduate student at the Slade School of art in London in 1978–79. Previously he had completed Foundation studies at Yeovil Technical College in 1974 and studied for a BA (Hons) Fine Art at Bristol Polytechnic from 1974–77.
From 1979–82 Bell was involved in architectural research at the then Polytechnic of North London. This was followed by a Residency at the Computing Laboratory of The University of Kent at Canterbury sponsored by The Arts Council and South East Arts from 1984–85 and by PhD research into interactive art at Loughborough University of Technology Computer-Human Interface Research Centre. He was awarded a PhD in 1992 for his thesis on Participatory Art and Computers. He continues to make his artwork using computer programming.
Bell was a Fine Art lecturer at Reading University in the late 1980’s. In 1989 he moved to Bournemouth to teach artists the creative use of programming and helped to establish the National Centre for Computer Animation NCCA. He retired from the NCCA in 2017 to focus on his art and currently lives in Bournemouth with Sarah Thompson.
In 2015 Bell decided he should have some copies made of the early computer graphic plotter drawings made using Fortran programming, to preserve them. The works currently shown on this site consist of a selection from 1978-79, now available as prints. To find out more about how the originals were made see Stephen Bell’s personal website, where he explains his approach to his art.
Several publications have referred to Bell’s work including “A Computer in the Art Room: the origins of British computer arts 1950–80” (Mason 2008) and there is a chapter about his work in “White Heat, Cold Logic” (Brown et al 2009).
We plan to make prints from later in Bell’s career available in the near future.
Selected exhibitions where Stephen’s work has been exhibited:
2019 Event 2, Royal College of Art, London
2018 CAS50, Lightbox Gallery, Leicester and Phoenix, Brighton
2016 Interaction Gallery, British HCI 2016 Conference Fusion, Bournemouth University
2015 Ernest Edmonds: A Retrospective 1965-2015, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
2014 Automatic Art: human and machine processes that make art, GV Gallery, London
2013 SMI 2013: art exhibition at Shape Modeling International 2013 Conference, Bournemouth University (Bell curated the exhibition)
2010 Small Journey, live generation of computer graphics in performance with musicians as part of public//domain festival, Bournemouth
2009 The Salon 2, Kube Gallery, Poole
2008 The Salon, Study Gallery, Poole
2007 Multichannel, ArtSway, Sway
1993 Creativity and Cognition, Burleigh Court, Loughborough University
1988 Art and Computers; Cleveland Gallery, Middlesbrough; Jarbeurs Centre, Utrecht
1986 Art, Science and Industry; Consort Gallery, Imperial College, London
1981 International Festival of Electronic Music, Video and Computer Art; Brussels
1997 Tinyworld (commission), Snibston Discovery Park, Leicestershire
1987 Featured artist in Fearful Symmetries art show; 45th World Science Fiction Convention, Brighton
1985 Computer Generated Images; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury; featured artist in Draughting, Design & Graphics Exhibition, London
1984 Notional Grids; Library Concourse, University of Kent at Canterbury