SPEAK TO ME
Various WIP images
from Speak To Me
Is there a life force within art? Can we converse with creative energy? Artists throughout history have posed such questions. The Surrealists sought to harness the creativity of the unconscious mind. Hilma af Klint insisted her works should be seen as messages from her spirit guides. I make no such claims, however I am a believer that there’s more to this universe than we have the capability of currently understanding, and that through manifesting creativity we can connect with others as well as the unknown.
When I start the process of creating a new generative artwork, I often focus on discovering what’s new that I might unearth within the exploration of a simple algorithm. Within that journey, I have a hidden agenda. I hope to commune with the voices hiding inside the code.
RANDOMNESS + INTUITION
Throughout my artistic practice, I’ve come to realize that intuition is more effective than predetermined thought when creating original visual works. Vera Molnar’s words often come to mind: “There is this thing that can replace intuition. It’s randomness.” In my exploration of generative randomness, I’ve discovered it to be a reliable ally in my artistic journeys. During the creative process, I rely on visceral reactions to gauge if and when I’m headed in the right direction. By letting the algorithm explore all possibilities at once, I can say yes to a multitude of directions without having to steer it down a predetermined path. When the visual outputs start to move me, I love the idea that perhaps I’ve discovered some sort of personality hidden within the confines of the code, waiting for the most unlikely parameter to unlock its emergent beauty.
INSPIRATION, DEPARTURES + CONTINUATIONS
In Speak To Me, I’m experimenting with layering and interrupting repetitions of basic geometric shapes, exploring their interplay and movement when placed in relation to one another. Drawing loose inspiration from historic art movements such as Suprematism and Constructivism, I’m seeking to investigate the potential of simple geometric forms to create dynamic and complex visual arrangements. The code generates compositions that are both structured and organic, imparting a movement and energy to the shapes, so they seem to grow and flow like living organisms. Some shapes speak boldly, with clear, directional vision. Some embrace the space between. Within this collection, the differences in those voices are celebrated with intention.
Speak To Me expands upon visual concepts I’ve explored in some of my earlier generative projects. The collections Ask Me About The Dimensional Shift & Delicate Voids utilized layering to convey depth and develop structure. I investigated the interplay between emptiness and form in Svrfaced, and employed directional form to imply movement in Soft Waking. Speak To Me builds on these concepts, introduces the idea of texture as a compositional tool, and examines the relationship between the ordered and the chaotic. While these collections, on the surface, appear visually very different, they all play a part in my continuing artistic inquiry into the nature of form and its relationship to intuition.
Construction Alexandra Exter, 1922
Space Force Construction
Liubov Popova, 1921
Olga Rozanova, 1916
Leonna Carrington (photo by Kati Horna ca. 1960)
APPROACH / PHILOSOPHY / CONCEPTUAL GOALS
While many artists focus on breaking new ground with every work, I choose not to view artistic creation as a goal-based pursuit. For me, the process is more experimentation with an emphasis on discovery. What can I learn? What can the code reveal? Can I uncover a visual world that resonates with my artistic practice and aesthetic? With an emphasis on the journey over the destination, I frame the concept of breaking new ground as a commitment to the process of artistic discovery with as little expectation as possible. Within that same spirit, I measure success by the expression of a cohesive vision within that visual world. I want to create something within that visual canvas that elicits a pause in the viewer. Nothing delights me more than to look up from the code and find I am in a new and captivating world.
When thinking about defining the artistic journey and discovering where the inspiration for art comes from, I can’t help but remember an interview I saw with Surrealist painter Leonna Carrington before her death. She declares to the interviewer, who is pressing her to define her art with a journey based on logic, “It comes from somewhere else… You’re trying to intellectualize something desperately. And you’re wasting your time. That’s not a way of understanding. How can we understand? By our own feelings about things. By our feeling about if you see a painting, for instance, that you like. Canvas is an empty space. It’s a visual world. You want to turn things into a kind of intellectual game… It’s not. The visual world is totally different. Visual world has to do with what we see as space, which changes all the time.”
I feel deep solidarity with her resistance to intellectualizing her art, remaining content with, indeed preferring, its elusive origins.
COLOR PALETTES: ORIGINS + INSPIRATIONS
Classic: Inspired by early 60's Jazz albums, the color scheme made it's debut with Between Stations, an fxhash release from November 2021. Speak To Me features two versions of this palette, Full & Stitch.
Loom: A minimized version of the Classic palette, utilizing only the warm and neutral colors, created for my 2022 fxhash release aether: Astral Loom.
Raw Selvedge: Inspired by Japanese Denim and the vibrancy of materials used in the art of Sashiko.
707: Made it's debut in Physical Culture 02, a project published under my fxhash Sketchbook account in August 2022. It's name borrowed from one of my favorite 80's drum machines.
AM/PM & Reds: Newly created palettes for Speak To Me. I'm still getting to know these color combinations, I'll share more as they reveal themselves to me.
FEATURES + LACK THEREOF
I prefer that any “rarity” assigned to my art be on the merit of viewer aesthetic alone. To that end, color palettes are the only feature trait assigned in Speak To Me. My hope is that you choose to collect, buy, or sell any editions of this project based on whether you like it, if it moves you, or makes you feel something.
Speak To Me, WIP iteration
One night I dreamed of my code in progress, which sometimes happens when I’m immersed in a project. I awoke in the middle of the night with a specific phrase running through my head, got up to groggily scribble it onto some paper, then fell back to sleep. In the morning, I woke up to see the words “Speak To Me”, and I realized that I now had the name of my collection, imparted in a dream.
Throughout the creation of Speak To Me, I found myself wondering if there might be a secret life of shapes. Is interpretation of their movement and intersection, the collision of space with negative space, indicative of some form of emergent behavior? Or rather, our own version of animistic thinking in regards to surprising algorithmic effects? Reflecting on the creative process, I firmly believe that there is a dynamic energy inherent in artistic creation that can be considered a life force. As an artist, I view my role as a conduit and facilitator for this energy to manifest in the physical realm. From this perspective, in the case of generative art, I open up the role of creator to share with both the generative randomness of the algorithm and the creative force that inspires its creation. By embracing this philosophy of artistic creation, I’m hoping to both experience and share a more profound and transformative creative journey. I hope this artwork speaks to you as it has to me. ⫷⫸