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  • Writer's picturePierre Paslier

Interview with Loïc Schwaller

GH: We're so curious to find out: who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?

Loïc: My name is Loïc Schwaller and I’m based in Amsterdam. I studied Mathematics and I got a PhD in Statistics.

A little while ago, I decided to quit academic research to pursue my passion for design in general and creative coding more specifically. I’m now working as a freelance motion & graphic designer.

I always start by doodling forms and mathematical equations representing them or their movement in a notebook.

GH: What is the underlying philosophy behind your work?

Loïc: If there is a philosophy behind my work, I think it could be summed up by ‘what would happen if…’. Some of my artworks bear a resemblance to the idea they originated from, but more often than not there is this unforeseen moment where things go off-script.

I’m always a coding mistake or tweaked parameter away from finding myself chuckling at some fascinating thing that I did not anticipate but that is better than what I envisioned.

GH: Can you pick an artwork and describe your workflow?

Loïc: I call these clusters of tangled boxes ‘urbs’ because they look like little abstract urban landscapes to me. I’m using Processing a lot to create generative art and for this one as well, it started with a Processing sketch where I made a bunch of cubes grow along a randomly changing axis. As I started adding more and more cubes, I got different types of global structures depending on how frequently the direction of growth was changing. To make it more interactive, I decided to make an online version that I called URBS.generator using the Javascript library p5.js where everybody can create their own urbs. I really enjoy watching the almost organic growth leading to each unique landscape.

GH: What's been inspiring you lately?

Loïc: I recently took part in the 7th edition of ‘36 days of type’, an open call by graphic designers Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea where creatives from all around the globe are invited to share daily typographic creations on Instagram. For my first participation last year I made a full set of animated letters and numbers with Processing. I learned a lot in the process and it took me to new creative territories. Looking at all the other submissions was also a huge source of inspiration. That’s why, even though it was a demanding project, I signed up for another round this year, having an amazing experience once again!

GH: Tell us about your setup. Where do you create? What tools do you use? Loïc: I always start by doodling forms and mathematical equations representing them or their movement in a notebook. Then I code them to life on my computer. I’m working a lot with Processing and its Javascript twin p5.js when I want to do something web-based, but I also like to experiment with other things such as GLSL shaders or Spark AR filters for Instagram. When I want to bring my artworks beyond the digital realm, I usually go to screen printing. I’m a self-taught printer and I built a printing setup in my spare bedroom where I can print posters or tee-shirts. There is a lot of satisfaction in bringing a digital creation to a piece of paper or garment.

I’m also the recent owner of an Axidraw v3 pen-plotter from Evil Mad Scientist and I love it! It has opened up a lot of new possibilities for me.

Loïc Schwaller, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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