Programming the Galleries of the Future
Updated: Feb 22
Generative art is somewhat of a new idea. It is as much a question posed towards the definition of what art is, as well as an art form in its own right; one that pushes the boundaries of both technology and artistic expression.
Chances are you’ve seen generative art before, even if you didn’t realise it! Generative artwork regularly trends on social media platforms such as Instagram, Reddit, Facebook and Twitter due to the satisfying and calming nature of the symmetrical patterns and how they are formed.
With many dedicated fan pages and emerging new creators, generative art is a rapidly growing art form. Artists are continuously experimenting with different techniques and software to create new, visually intriguing pieces which continue to inspire the community.
So, let’s take a look at how the generative art movement is shaping the artistic community.
What is Generative Art?
Generative art is defined as being artwork that has been created with the use of an autonomous system — this could be a algorithm, computer code or a custom piece of unique hardware. The artwork itself is as much the final result as the programme used to create it.
In order for something to be considered ‘generative,’ it must only partially be the product of an automated system, as opposed to AI art. This collaboration between the artist and the machine means that many prominent generated pieces will be at least partially completed using traditional art techniques.
There are many different forms of generative art, though one of the most popular is called ‘plotter’ art. Plotter artwork is generally very geometric, making heavy use of shapes, patterns and lines.
Plotter artworks will use a ‘robot’ like the Axidraw of the Line-Us, which is controlled by a computer, fed with digital instructions. The robot will draw the lines using real pens and brushes, creating a very interesting effect at the intersection of physical and digital: mechanical lines that should reflect surgical precision, though many variables interfere with the final result.
As with any drawing, the motion of your hand will significantly impact the curvature of your lines and the overall ‘feel’ — the same is true for the plotting robot. Though following a planned course, the paper, ink and momentum will all contribute to the end result: a unique, original piece of generative art.
Generative Art in pop culture
Outside of social media, generative art has had a significant impact on pop-culture: one of the more notable examples is the iconic album artwork of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album, which was created using radio waves from pulsar CP 1919.
Generative art remains a somewhat elusive theme in pop culture, as the strange yet aesthetically pleasing designs haven’t found their way to mainstream success. Generative art is certainly building traction. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it more prevalently on posters, music videos or graphic design for packaging.
Generative art is arguably still quite niche, but there’s a growing online community and many highly regarded artists.
Reddit’s community of generative creators is a good start for those looking for inspirational pieces or wanting to learn more about the process:
Similarly on Instagram, @generative.hut can be a good source of ongoing inspiration, providing a consistent flow of daily featured artists.
Programming the future
Generative art can be, without a doubt, mesmerising. Perfectly blending the world of creative arts, science and technology, Generative art is expected to keep growing. It won’t be long before galleries start including iconic generated pieces!
Follow @pierre.paslier for a candid insight into a generative artist’s mind and how their motives and inspirations might evolve.
If you would like to showcase any of your own generated artworks, please feel free to DM them to @generative.hut for a chance to be featured.