Name: Ben Laposky
Date of Birth: September 30, 1914
Country of Origin: US
Gallery Representation: need to contact bitforms
Benjamin Francis Laposky (1914–2000) was a mathematician, artist and draftsman in Cherokee, Iowa. He has been credited with making the first computer graphics, utilizing an oscilloscope as the creation medium for abstract art. In 1953 he released what he called “Oscillons” (or oscillogram designs) along with a corresponding thesis entitled “Electronic Abstractions” via a gallery exhibition of fifty pictures of the same name at Sanford Museum in Cherokee. Laposky is often credited as the pioneer for electronic art, more specifically in the analog vector medium.
He was born September 30, 1914 on a farm south of Cherokee to Peter Paul and Leona Anastasia (Gabriel) Laopsky. His siblings were named George and Raymond. At age 4 his family relocated to Colorado Springs. In 1931 Laposky’s mother died. In 1932 Laposky graduated from St. Mary’s High school, Colorado Springs and shortly thereafter, the family relocated back to Cherokee where he began working as a sign painter and draftsman.
Laposky joined the US Army and was inducted into Fort Des Moines in 1942. He scored 134 in his army general classifications test, which put him up in the upper 5 percent of what the army classified as “the ability to learn rapidly”; his mechanical aptitude test was 145. He was sent overseas with the 43rd Infantry division headquarters general staff section assigned as a map draftsman.
As a technical sergeant, he was wounded in the right foot during a Japanese bombing raid at Rendona Island, Solomon Islands, (New Georgia Munda airfield campaign) in July 1943 (for which he received the Purple Heart). He spent 10 months in army hospitals in New Zealand and Alabama. He was discharged with disability in May 1944 after 2 years of service, returning to his home in Cherokee, Iowa.
Laposky returned to his original work, but was no longer able to climb ladders as is required by a sign painter, so he focused on lettering smaller cards and draftsman and student of mathematics, providing many Magic Number Squares to the Rippley’s Believe it or Not! syndicated newspaper feature. He owned a sign shop in Iowa and dabbled in art in his spare time. Envisioning “painting with light”. He took extension courses in elementary drafting from the University of Chicago.