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Artist Creates Vintage "Digital" Art on a Typewriter

Arno Beck is making computer art, computer-free.
Images courtesy the artist

Although they may look like print screenshots of your old CPU, these works were actually made on an old-fashioned manual typewriter. Line-by-line, German artist Arno Beck builds glitchy arithmetic images, meticulously hammering out patterns from the typewriter’s index of letters and symbols. In an artist statement on his website, Beck writes, “I’m driven by the search for an analog translation of digital imagery. I utilize this printing method as a means of producing paintings in a wider sense.”


Beck’s work shows the transformation of digital imagery to a physical pictorial space through an analog device—in this case, the typewriter. He creates magnified and over-pixelated pictures of archaic CPU systems and application windows, borrowing imagery from old video games and graphic design computer programs. These reflections of old art making software allow the artist to insert “simulated painterly gestures.”

The performative aspect of this work is captured in a process video released by the artist on Vimeo. The short film shows the artist sitting down at a desk with his typewriter as he constructs one of his paintings. In a short description, Beck writes about the box grid embedded into the interface of every typewriter and how it creates a frame or template for his works, sort of like scaffolding on the side of building. See it come to life below:

Arno Beck Typewriter Drawing from Arno Beck on Vimeo.

Check out more work by Arno Beck on his website.


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