Dr. Rodney "Pygoya" Chang
Rodney Chang was born in
Honolulu in 1945. Instead of surfing and sailing, he has spent his
life in school, then decades treating dental patients in Hawaii. With
degrees in other fields, Dr. Chang is also a long time artist, writer, and
psychologist. For fun and exercise he has danced for decades in dance
clubs as well as finished forty-four 26-mile marathons. While running, "the
Running Photographer http://www.marathoncoursephotos.com"
searches for scenery to later render into digital or oil paintings. As an artist he
has explored ("research & development" of the medium as he puts
it) early digital art since
1984. INFO Amiga placed Chang on its cover
to highlight its interview, "Rodney
Chang: Artist on the Edge." Chang's specific interest has been in
pioneering the expansion of oil painting visual expression through digital
means. His life's art effort is a bridge between 20th Century
traditional Modernistic aesthetics and the new millennium's digital culture and
virtual realm. For example, his Pixelism,
which is a digital offspring of the earlier Impressionism.
He was the first to exhibit in the digital medium in the state of Hawaii as well as in Calcutta, India, and in China (solo exhibition, Shanghai Art Museum, 1988). He was bestowed the title of "Honorary Professor" for conducting, in China, the first course in digital art at Shanghai University, College of Fine Arts. His work has also been exhibited in American museums, such as the Bronx Art Museum in New York and the Honolulu Academy of Arts, as well as in Europe, including Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, Budapest and Bavaria.
Online he established the perpetual virtual museum at Lastplace.com http://www.lastplace.com/index.htm. Truly Virtual Web Art Museum http://www.lastplace.com/index97-02.html went online in 1997 and has greeted over 1.5 million visitors. In November 2012, the web site was ranked first (after 4 paid site ads) when "internet art museum" is keyed for a search in Google (out of 147 million results).
At about that time in 1997, a sleeping Chang had a dream of attending an exhibition by a warrior-like Japanese artist in samurai clothing. The dream character berated Chang, a lowly art student in the dream, for attempting to copy his masterful mural-size abstract paintings. When he awoke - sweating profusely, Chang could not recall the "astonishing masterpieces that came to me in a dream." But he remembered the dream artist's name and adopted it as his Internet artist identity. So now he could "be" two individuals with separate names for the double life that he lives - Dr. Rodney Chang the dentist with a doctorate in psychology, and Pygoya the Internet artist (1997) and then Webist. In 1997 he also launched the manifesto for the pacifist art movement of "Webism http://www.lastplace.com/webism.htm," now with about 100 members worldwide.
Prior to his love affair with high technology and its cyber-culture, Chang dedicated ten years to painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and mixed media as "internships," after attaining a Masters of Art in Studio Art (Northern Illinois University). The visual sensibilities of each traditional medium is incorporated into his mature digital art http://lastplace.com/cyberpaintings7_2009.htm, making his art a hybrid of the digital and traditional media art worlds. Through decades of doing a balancing act between traditional and digital media, Chang has documented his experience and published his theories on the nature of art and the creative process - as a working as well as experimental artist.
The writer has published five science fiction/fantasy novels, Pygoya, Roswell Encounter Gallery, Starry Lights Over Roswell, Red Sable Brush Society, and Voggy Visions, all available at www.amazon.com as paperbacks or e-books . He has also published two volumes of short stories of fiction, entitled Night Flights. More information about the books can be found at www.lastplace.com/books.htm. Chang also published exerts from his artist's diary, titling the selected collection of journal entries, The Artist Who Thinks Too Much, also available since 2009 at Amazon.com.
Pygoya Gallery had its grand opening on July 31st, 2008 and welcomed many visitors on lst Friday Art Walks, every first Friday of the month. It is the historic first Honolulu gallery that devoted itself to exhibiting digital fine art. The enterprise was introduced to the local population with a splash. Local newspapers interviewed Chang http://www.lastplace.com/hawaii_newspapers_ink_new_galler.htm, formerly known as the infamous Disco Dentist - http://www.lastplace.com/DOC/Cybpntgs/cypt20.htm, curious about the inclusion of dance floor lights for the gallery's newly installed bamboo floor. During the grand opening weekend, Chang flew off to San Francisco, and completed his 25th 26. 2 mile marathon, photographing the race course http://www.marathoncoursephotos.com/index.htm as he does for other marathons.
Besides Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World, Dr. Chang is recognized in Ripley's Believe It or Not! for his 10 college degrees, including a Masters in Education from the University of Southern California, a D.D.S. from Loyola University in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Art Psychology from the Union Graduate Institute in Ohio. The dentist, artist, writer, dancer, and marathoner lives with his wife Erlinda Feliciano in Honolulu and has two sons and a daughter (Bronson, Houston, and Rochelle).
An online article by a Malaysian arts writer considers Rodney Chang, or Pygoya, a "digital art master." Studying the life, art theory, and works of Rodney Chang, a doctoral student earned his Ph.D. at Moscow University, Russia, in digital art philosophy and internet cyber-culture in 2010. His published biography of the artist, in Russian and English, is available online.
Present art interest is creating digital "Cyberscapes" inspired by collaboraton with Andrea Cabico, master landscaper. They are now one year into the goal of developing 3 acres of Hawaii into scenic botanical gardens, nestled within the native rain forest high up and close to Volcano National Park. And in the middle of the forested retreat is Chang's latest art installation. Like his world renown piece of a discotheque in a dental clinic (1979), this time a dance floor (Volcano Disco) is perched a "stone's throw" away - from an active, fuming volcano (5 minute drive to the crater's edge).
Bronze sculptures by Rodney Chang
Assembly 6'x11' oil on canvas, Rodney Chang Copyright 1988
from Pixelism Series Rodney Chang Copyright 1990
Sailing in Cyberspace Rodney Chang Copyright 2003
Dancing Red Dress Rodney Chang Copyright 2005
UFO Landing Zone Rodney Chang Copyright 2005
Cybernetics Rodney Chang Copyright 2006
Litchwick, Maine Rodney Chang Copyright 2009
From CyberPaintings 2012 series
Voggy Visions Rodney Chang Copyright 2008
From Andrea's Gardens- Oct 2012 Series Rodney Chang Copyright 2012
Remembering Picsco in Digital Space Rodney Chang Copyright 2012
Garden of Eden Rodney Chang Copyright 2012
November 7, 2012