a doodle of the author

Welcome to my Digital Life

My name is Syrah Bailey. I am a Digital Media Design Student at Red River majoring in Web Development. Before getting too far ahead, let’s start off from the beginning. To my first exposure to technology and to the digital world.

The world into which you were born (what was the digital culture and your first exposure to it)

I was born in the spring of 2001. Remarkably enough, I still remember a lot of the 90s stuff like toys, early tv shows and cartoons. But one thing I remember that is probably what sparked my dive into the digital realm was when I first got the Nintendo Wii. My memory is very strange and selective. You could as me what I had for dinner yesterday and I wouldn’t be able to tell you. However, if you asked me what my first video game I played was, I can tell you with no hesitation. Mario Kart has made a place in my heart ever since I got the Wii on the Christmas of 2006. I still recall how excited my sisters and I were when we saw the box packaging. Looking back, that was probably the peek of my life, everything else kind of went downhill from then on. For legal reasons, that is a joke. In reality, The early 2000s were the best years ever, the fashion part however, I cannot vouch for. Think about it though, how lucky was I to be born in the years where so many new technologies came out. First the Nintendo DS in 2004, which I was able to buy a couple years later. Then the Wii, the apple iPhone and the most impressive for any kid, an iPod Touch.

the author praising the Nintendo Wii

The iPod Touch was the talk of every discussion in middle school. If you had one, you’d be seen as top tier. Every kid I knew begged their parents to get one for them, and since we were still in middle school, we didn’t have jobs yet. I used to hate my parents so much for telling me that I had to buy one with my own money. They claimed it was to learn about “how the real world works” and how there are “no handouts”. Honestly, that’s a smart move for a parent, because I did learn a lot about saving and spending. Eventually, years later, I was able to save up enough birthday and Christmas money to buy and iPod Touch for myself.

The iPod unlocked a whole new world for me, games on the device, new music, I also used it to look up new games to play for my Wii, I was able to text friends, I could share my art work and creativity online with Instagram and most importantly, I was introduced to YouTube.

Throughout my whole childhood, everything seemed like a domino effect leading up to the discovery of the gaming industry and the creativity behind digital culture.

The technological/social changes that have occurred within your lifetime

If there were a lot of technical advancements when I was still a kid, then you can already imagine how far technology has come now that we’ve past the 2010s. Digital art to me is what has changed the most. It’s become a lot more popular than traditional art and has popped up in a lot of my feeds on social media. With the influence of my sister, who has inspired me to become the creative individual I am today, I have started to experiment more and more with drawing digitally.

However, I always liked sticking inside of my comfort zone. Before getting into Red River, I only drew digitally using adobe illustrator, and that was more for logos and vector graphics which I rarely did. When I had to create my entrance portfolio, I used PaintTool SAI and photoshop to create some of my portfolio pieces which took me hours to do because I was still very new to the software.

By some miracle, I was able to get into the DMD program. This led me to purchasing my new laptop, which had all sorts of features that I didn’t really know a computer could have. It was fast, had an awesome graphics card and, the best part was I could play games on it too! One thing I owe DMD for is getting me to buy a tablet for their courses. Yes, I know, I did all of my portfolio pieces and digital drawings with a mouse. The first tablet I got was the New Huion 1060 plus. For about a year it worked well, and I was able to finally get comfortable with doing digital art because it felt exactly like drawing on paper! I was finally upgrading my hardware and I was beginning to get used to it. That was until my tablet broke unexpectedly. I will never understand why it never connected to my computer again. I was fortunate enough to have friends from the DMD program hook me up with a much better tablet. I know now that I should have gone with a Wacom tablet from the start.

author at the computer using drawing tablet

And if my luck couldn’t have gotten any better, this tablet came with a bonus. On the packaging it told me that it came with a free software download. Going on the Wacom site, it gave me three software options to choose from. The one that caught my eye was Clip Studio Paint. Hearing so much positive reviews about this application and how photoshop could never compare made me download it instantly.

This leads us to where I am currently. I am still practicing my digital drawing skills and figuring out Clip Studio’s workflow while keeping up with all my coding and design assignments on the side. It’s crazy to think that in a span of a year and a half, I’ve become more familiar with digital art and familiar with working the applications and hardware that comes along with it. It makes me think what the future will have in store for me.

Your future, or for what's to come in general

The future for technology is always very scary to think about. Some people may think that all those movies like Terminator will become fact rather than fiction. To me, I think it won’t be as scary. But, with the pandemic now taking place, I feel that our future will look more like working from home and everything being online rather than murderous robots. Our technology and how we are currently using it is always changing and improving. Looking at the way we’ve improved our medical system using technology and how we’ve upgraded cars really makes me think what a couple years could look like for our society as a whole.

A thought that always crosses my mind when thinking about the future is the futuristic Disney/Pixar movie Wall-E. When I first saw that movie and saw how much mankind’s technology advanced to the point where they do everything for us, it frightened me. Thinking about it, it would be nice to have a robot cook for you or have a washing machine that can do your laundry without having to lift a finger. But it also isn’t very liberating for me. Referencing back to the movie, the people’s lives looked extremely boring and almost sad. Chores in general are never really fun but when you think about it, the human brain constantly has to be busy doing something. I hate being bored and I sometimes find activities like cooking, walking, driving, or doing basic things fun in their own sense.

robot from disney movie wall-e

So, I think what really bothers me about the future is that when technology is constantly improving and advancing, will we still be able to do things that make us human?

Thank you for reading my ramble about my life and for what’s to come for the future. This is a small, multimedia project I created to show how much I have learned in the two years I’ve spent in the DMD program at Red River. I hope you enjoyed!