My artist's feature for the Bent Festival is now on their site; you can find it here. Here's a reposting of the interview:
Bent: Before you got into circuit bending, what type of music or art were you into?
DT: I'm very interested in photography that deals with the psychological and social effects of commercialism. Hans Aarsman and Matt Siber are two photographers whose work I admire. I'm also drawn to photographers with great sensitivity to place: Walker Evans, Eggleston, Shore, Jeff Brouws, etc. These are themes I address in my own work.
Bent: How did you get into circuit bending?
DT: Photography has been my primary artistic focus for the last decade. Meanwhile, I've been working as a programmer. Databending was how I first united these interests in one project. Since then, I've expanded into forms of new media that also combine programming and visual art, but it was the discovery of databending that first encouraged me to write software as part of an art project.
Much of my databent work is concerned with exploring and exploiting the limitations and visual artifacts of tools: in this case, the image file formats themselves. I was inspired in part by the early abstract expressionists, who broke the illusion of the image to expose the qualities of paint and canvas. JPEGs look very different from BMP files when you insert random data strings into them; each can be broken in a different way, and reveal something unique about that file format. This interested me because we usually treat them as interchangeable, and don't think of them as having any real personality. It was a way to look at the data, instead of through it.
This is a continuation of the sensibility I brought to much of my film work before I started working digitally: adding light leaks, staining and scratching film, doing long exposures that revealed unusual color unique to the film stock, etc. But with film, it was more of a struggle to maintain enough control over the outcome to create work that interested me aesthetically. Databending has just the right balance of control and chaos. Many effects are repeatable, but always somewhat different with each image.
It's that experimentation that makes this style fun to work in. I'm sure that, if this style becomes popular enough, someone will release a set of Photoshop filters to allow the databent "look" to be created on the spot, and take the thrill away from doing this type of work. But until then, I will happily continue misusing software to get the effects I like.
Bent: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
DT: The project I'm showing, Sector, focuses in part on readdressing Pop Art, so I've collected iconic images in tune with that movement: a Heinz bottle, a garbage truck, a film leader. Some are referencing particular pieces, such as my cow images. One great thing about using iconic images is that they remain highly recognizable after being scrambled or broken.
Bent: What is your take on the bending community at large? Where are you in it?
DT: The bending community is surprisingly open. When I was starting out, I had artists reach out to me, providing early encouragement to work that, at the time, was very rough. It's even better for people getting started now, with the great tutorials available online, the five or six databending groups on Flickr, and of course the workshops at The Bent Festival.
Bent: Who are you most excited to see at Bent? Why?
DT: I'm thrilled to see such a variety of work in different media this year. Many of the artists at this year's festival are new to me, and I'm excited to see their work in person.