Leslie Mezei

Born 1931
Pseudonymous: Laszlo Gabriel Mezei

Canada based Leslie Mezei is one of the earliest and most important participants and a close observer of the North American computer art scene.

He suggested building a network for sharing information about events in computer art as early as 1966, followed by a regular bibliography on computer art in Computers and Automation and a column on the same topic in Artscanada.

He published in computer science as well as fine arts magazines,thereby emphasizing his claim of “bringing the humanist scholar, the practicing artist and the interested computer scientist together” [Source: Notes on the Computer and the Arts].

In the second half of the 1960s he himself started producing works of computer art.

He developed two early graphic programming languages (SPARTA and ARTA), which where FORTRAN libraries that featured graphic primitives and transformations like lines, polygons, rotation, and translation. The later ARTA enabled the use of a light pen as input device as well as keyframe animation.

He brought Bill Buxton, Ron Baecker and Frieder Nake to the Dynamic Graphics Project.

In the late 1970s he turned away from computer art, “disappointed by the focus [...] that many of the early computer art activists took on technology” [Source: Leslie Mezei].

Programming languages/software used: FORTRAN

1940s Comes to Montreal, Canada as war orphan and holocaust survivor
1952 Moves to Toronto
1954 M.A. in Physics at the University of Toronto
1955-65 System analyst and manager in Toronto
1964 Lecturer at the York University
1965-66 Lecturer at the University of Toronto in computer science
1966 Suggests building a network for sharing information on computer art
since mid 1960s Column in Artscanada on computer art topics
since 1966 Starts developing computer art programs in Fortran on an IBM 7094
1965-78 Associate professor of computer science at the University of Toronto.
late 1960s Develops SPARTA and ARTA, two early graphics programming languages (based on Fortran)
1978 Turns away from computer art and academia
since 1978 Working as personal financial planner, writing about spiritual and religious topics (www.interfaithunity.ca).

[Source: Beyond art : a third culture : a comparative …] [Source: Closing Summary]