“There are interesting patterns that show up both in nature and in human engineering. I like to mix those.” - the artist
Q: What led you to become a digital artist?
A: I studied computer science and worked professionally as a programmer, so I wanted to integrate that into my artwork in some way. Eventually, I asked myself the question "what if I wrote a program that created a painting?". I had a rocky start trying this out, but it was promising enough that I knew I had to continue down that path. There were so many new things to learn compared to the skills I had been using for drawing and painting, but I found the switch extremely rewarding.
Q: What is your main inspiration for the work?
A; My inspiration comes from many different places, but I'm primarily inspired by patterns and processes. There are interesting patterns that show up both in nature and in human engineering. I like to mix those. A combination of chaos and structure is the sweet spot, in my opinion, so any processes that uses both catches my attention.
In nature, I spend a lot of time looking at vegetation, clouds, water, and rocks. On the man-made side, I might notice anything from textures or patterns in how a piece of metal has been worn down, to the organization of streets within a city.
Q: Digital art has been widely accepted as a more main stream art genre in recent years. Can you describe how you started in digital art and your creative process?
A: I create my artwork by designing custom algorithms and writing a new program from scratch that will use that algorithm to generate a series of images. I don't use Photoshop or anything like that, this is accomplished with programming alone. My process is exploratory. I begin with a rough concept of something to experiment with. I write a simple program, run it, and see how the output is looking. From there, I expand and refine this by repeatedly changing and re-running the program, often hundreds of time. The finished work is almost always very different from anything I imagined at the start of the process.
Q: We were impressed with your Best in Show piece, titled Rotated Gradient D, 2018. Tell us more about this piece/series.
A: Thanks! This work comes from a series I created that was focused on a particular algorithm. The design is centered on repeatedly splitting triangles in half, getting smaller until a minimum size is reached. The interesting challenge is how to do this in an organic way, utilizing randomness to avoid the monotony of a simple grid. Every little detail and decision inside the algorithm utilizes randomness in some way, from the shape of the large structures to the fine details. Every run on the program produces a different output. I curated this output to four final images, and Rotated Gradient D was the fourth of these.
Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your work?
A: I hope that it broadens their idea of what "programming" artwork looks like. I also hope that it gives non-programmers a visual, abstract taste of how computers and programming work. The influence of computer architecture design on my work is very obvious, and shapes it in many inescapable ways that the viewer might pick up on.
Q: How do you view your art career in five years?
A: I hope that the number of hours I spend in the studio, creating artwork, only increases. The art world is capricious. My focus on working is the only thing that I can control.
About the artist:
My work focuses on the creation of generative processes. For each new work, I design a custom algorithm capable of generating a sequence of unique, but aesthetically related images. The algorithms I craft borrow patterns observed from the natural world, repurposing and remixing them to explore the sensations they evoke.
The interplay of randomness and structure is particularly intriguing to me. The natural world is filled with the collision of these two forces, and the results are worth examining in detail. Generative artwork is particularly well suited for this examination. While algorithms are obviously well suited for studying patterns and organization, computers are also a surprisingly excellent source of randomness. My best work strikes a careful balance between these elements, resulting in a program that is a loose set of guidelines rather than an explicit description of an image.
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