The Company was Formed
The story of Dave Jones Design starts in 1985 when the company was formed under the name of Designlab. This company was started by Dave Jones to manufacture and market a series of image processing machines that he had developed. These machines were both analog and digital video devices designed to be used by artists to create video tapes or to do live video performances.
To understand the history of Dave Jones Design you have to go back 10 years before the company was formed. In the mid 1970's Dave Jones started developing a series of analog and early digital video processing tools at The Experimental Television Center. E.T.C. is a non-profit video studio used by artists from around the world to make video tapes. The early machines developed by Dave Jones included standards of the industry like keyers and sequencers as well as not so common devices like colorizers.
[Dave Jones formed Silver Bullet Video in the early 1970s, marketing a portable battery system for use with portable video equipment. The Experimental Television Center purchased these batteries for use in their Equipment Access Program, and later hired David to work as Technician. In that position David both maintained the equipment, and also designed and built many new tools for use by artists at the Center. David has also been associated with the Artists TV Lab at Rhinebeck, New York. - Sherry Miller Hocking, 2000]
Control Voltages: Taking a concept from the analog music field, Dave Jones started adding voltage control inputs on his video designs that allowed each of the knobs to be adjusted by an outside voltage such as a waveform from an oscillator. This turned out to add incredible power to the video machines since now you could turn any, or all, of the knobs at once. By patching a bank of oscillators and other control voltage devices you could create complex images. As each new video device was developed these control voltage inputs were designed in giving this growing image processing system a lot of new capabilities.
Customized Systems: By the late 1970's Dave Jones had built a couple of other custom analog image processing systems for video artists Ralph Hocking and Gary Hill. These included an assortment of experimental devices that evolved during the late 1970's.
Generation 2: During the early 1980's Dave Jones decided there was a demand for some of his video processors and spent a couple of years developing versions to manufacture. During this time he worked as a freelance video engineer and digital consultant. By 1985 the new generation of video imaging tools were ready.
This brings us back to where this story began. In 1985 Dave Jones started Designlab and started to manufacture his image processing tools for artists. Due to the high cost of building these machines and Dave's commitment to keeping the prices within reason, coupled with the the limited demand, the sale of these machines could not sustain Designlab. The company ended up doing a lot of industrial designing and engineering for other manufacturers who required Dave's expertise in video.
Back into Art: Due to a chance phone call in 1991 to his old friend, video artist Gary Hill, Dave Jones moved Designlab away from industrial designing and back into the video art field. Designing and building custom video and computer tools to support the art of Gary Hill and a series of other video and electronic artists, Designlab's reputation for building custom tools for artists grew rapidly.
Today: Designlab, now known as Dave Jones Design, has become one of the leaders in the field of custom electronics used by electronic artists around the world. If you go to any major contemporary art show you will probably see art powered by Dave Jones Design's machines, or images created using them.