Archive for August, 2007

Surrealism and automatic art techniques

August 21, 2007

paalen-fumage-1937.jpgWell in a fit of serendipitousness the universe showed me fumage, painting with smoke, (ok, it was really Stumble Upon that showed it to me or maybe it was a result of my reckless urges to websurf when i shouldn’t be.) Anyway that led to a wikipedia page on Surrealistic art techniques which all came back to generative art, albeit in a slightly different vein but with a similar philosophy.

It is odd how circular things are sometimes.

And in response to my friend Nan’s comment on the last post about the nature of generative art…

“i’m not sure how generative software art really is. it is programmed after all by humans who make the machine, etcetera, but the point i’m trying to get at and will probably have nightmares over, is that the controls are set in the creation of the tool and thus the tools have limits which exceed the limits of play doh.”

I think this is an interesting point. How random is random? In an interview with Golan Levin, an artist and MIT scholar, he brings up the fact that there are several models of “randomness” and yet many artists and animators stick to the model built into their particular software, Flash, for example. This would tend to make things feel considerably less “random”. But physical objects have limitations of randomness also. Whatever their particular physical nature is determines how many possible outcomes they can be manipulated into. So play-doh has one set of limitations and water has another. This is obviously not determined by humans, but it could be argued that it is determined by mathematical and physics principals similar to that of computer programs. Anyway, food for thought.


Generative Art and Mudballs

August 11, 2007

I have always been fascinated by generative art. I remember being intrigued by the Dadaist experiments and later Fluxus. When I was younger I played with creating art and music through different “systems”. I have recently come across a couple of sites online that are somewhat generative, but also allow some input from the user.

The image below was created using a very organic sketch tool from Odopod. What makes it somewhat generative is the limited palette and tools and the inability to undo or to change tool size. These limitations are part of what makes it fun and controls the look of the final product to a certain degree. I love the “old paper” drawing surface.


My second favorite online generative art tool is Dreamlines. It is based on keywords of a dream. I love to just watch it draw. I use a screen capture tool to capture the screens that are the most beautiful to me. Some are extremely abstract, others have the hint of objects or figures. You can read more about the process here.


Dream Kaleidoscope is also cool but I don’t like the random text.


Other tools I like to play with are on Zefrank’s site. My two favorites are The Scribbler and Flowers (aka Garden Maker).


And then there’s mudballs or Hikaru Dorodango as they are known in Japan. Seemingly opposite in nature to generative art and yet somehow something is strangely similar. It is through the relationship system of dirt, water and touch that these beautiful objects are made.The system is nature’s generational tool, our hands are the interactive part that helps shape the materials.

Placitas mud

Or maybe I’m just weird.

My current project – August 1 2007

August 1, 2007

taken to seclusion

this is a sketch from my Daily Draw (Damaged Goods Series). I work at a level 5 lock-down facility for adolescent girls with drug and alcohol issues (and most have mental disorders). It was done after a particularly intense work shift where girls were taken to seclusion (a locked concrete room) where they stayed for almost 4 hours. Taking girls to seclusion is one of the aspects I most hate about my job. When I got home I knew I needed to process things. I figured I either needed to vomit, get drunk or draw and drawing sounded the least hellish of the three choices.

I plan to make dolls in environments based on this sketch and hopefully I’ll have the sculpy models done soon so that i can start envisioning it in 3-D and post the ongoing process here.