Monday, October 12, 2009

Code Generated Art

In August, Smashing Magazine posted a list of 45 examples of code-generated artwork. That is, artwork created using not only sophisticated computer software like Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Photoshop, but also programs, like ActionScript, that take algorithms and generate imagery according to whatever code is typed into the computer. There are some really beautiful images, and looking at them got me thinking of the time when I'd hear people (mainly my high school art teachers) criticizing computer art as a medium less worthy of praise or admiration because, as they said, "the computer does the work for you."

People don't seem to be saying that as much anymore. I think many of those in the art field, at the time, were still feeling threatened by computers - as if they'd be replaced by automated artists churning out works on an assembly line somewhere. Luckily that turned out to be very far from the truth. Computers are merely another tool in the artist's toolbox.

Here are some of my favorites from this list.

"Circle Explosion" by Mark Knol

"Composition #72" by Patrick Gunderson

"Crimson" by Natzke

It's the perfect union of art and science, or mathematics, if you want to get technical about it. Despite the fact that the computer is the one implementing the information, it still takes a human mind to give it the right information to create the image. It requires not only computer knowledge but also some understanding of color and compositional concepts. Cool stuff.

Then, of course, there's the more representational side of computer generated art. These are amazing.

"Hektor" by Mark Denko

"Living Room" by Phillip Widmer

"The Artist Himself" by Piotr Fox Wysocki


  1. Reminds me much of this article I dug up...

    But I still wanna call BS on those til I'm up close. The lady swimming HAS to be a photo.

    Technology is a tool. Just like a canvas or frat boy after three or so Red Bull and Vodkas. The art doesn't make itself and it would be obvious if someone was devoid of talent even if they had a baller program.

  2. Agreed. Also, one of those IS a photo. The close-up of the woman that looks like it's from a magazine. Those guys standing around the canvas were "satirizing" the hyper-real painting people do. I suppose they were trying to say something like, "Why paint anything this realistic when you can just take a picture?"