Lloyd Sumner

Basic Info

Name: Lloyd Sumner
Country of Origin: US


Lloyd Sumner was an early American computer artist, one of the first to pursue computer art as his full-time career. Sumner was born in Virginia, as the youngest of 13 siblings, and was orphaned at the age of 16. In 1962, he entered the University of Virginia and got a part time job working at the Computer Science Center on campus. During the next two years, he gained familiarity with the computer hardware at the center, including a B5500 Burroughs computer and CalComp 565 plotter, and began to produce aesthetic graphical designs characterized by smooth curves, moiré patterns, symmetry and evenly spaced lines.

Sumner began to enter art shows, first in Virginia, around campus, and then further afield. He made his works using extended ALGOL, a programming language, and produced plotter drawings characterised by simple, geometric, line-based shapes. By spring of 1967, when he graduated, he had decided to try and make a living by selling his computer artworks in catalogs, and also by marketing his booklet on computer art, Computer Art and Human Response (1968). The same year, Sumner exhibited his art at Cybernetic Serendipity.

Sumner thus made a career out of his computer art and used the proceeds to fund his famous round-the-world bike ride expedition – documented in his travel memoir The Long Ride (1978).







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