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Tribute to
Herbert W. Franke
In Honor of the Dinosaur of Computer Art
by art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke

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William Kolomyjec


I met Herbert W. Franke at an Art and Technology conference in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in my Plotter Art heyday (July, 1977). It was a significant event for me as I discovered there were many other  people who shared my passion for using the technology of the day to make aesthetic images. I recall it wasn’t easy for most of them either. Herbert and I made quick friends and subsequently he asked me if it was possible to hitch a ride to get closer to his next destination which was some cave in Kentucky. Herbert loved to walk in caves. From Waterloo we crossed the border between Canada and the United States and he travelled with me back to my home in Lansing, Michigan where we spent a few days together. We talked about our visions of computer art, its role in the evolution of art, and our influences. Herbert left his impression on me. To this day I am grateful we had this time together.


I have been involved in many aspects of computer art/computer graphics and learning. First as a student and pioneer of the medium at Michigan State University (MSU). Followed by several years of professing engineering graphics, computer graphics and computer art at The Ohio State University (OSU). Followed by being called upon to start a program at Northern Illinois University (NIU), College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Art, Department of Design called Electronic Media where I was an Associate Professor of Design.

I left academics when presented with an opportunity to work for Pixar. My first role at Pixar was as RenderMan™ Evangelist marketing their 3D rendering technology.

When the company reorganized I took a side trip to start a Renderman™ accessory company called The VALIS Group with three other ex-Pixar employees. I rejoined Pixar as their International Marketing Manager and established a global distribution network for shrink-wrapped desktop rendering software products. After the success of Toy Story my role changed again, this time to market and assist in the development of edutainment products based on the characters from the animated film.

When Pixar gave up Pixar Interactive and became an animation studio I went to work at Anderson Consulting as a Learning Architect. There I found my niche designing graphics for multimedia training products. After several years my division morphed into Accenture Learning and I started designing E-Learning graphics and managing projects. I “retired” from Accenture Learning and relocated to Pinellas County Florida.

I came out of retirement to take a position as academic adjunct faculty at the Art Institute of Tampa (AiTA) to teach E-Learning, Web Design and Interactive Media classes. After several years I left AiTA and took a position as a Professional Trainer at the Workforce Institute in the Corporate Training department of Saint Petersburg College (SPC). I taught Digital Media classes as an academic adjunct, in the Humanities/ Fine Arts/ Digital Media department until Covid-19 made classroom teaching a health risk.

Finally, fully retired, I promote my legacy and create Generative Art at my leisure.