Let’s start out better understanding generative art. Later, we’ll connect that concept to the uniqueness of an individual.
The practice of generative art involves the co-creation of an art piece between a computer program and the artist. Computer programs that we’ve come to appreciate are highly repeatable, ensuring that a given workflow produces the same output for any given input, time after time. Generative art, however, introduces some form of randomness or chaos, together with certain “seed variables” supplied by the artist to generate something totally unique to them.
Digital content has certain native influences relative to traditional art, namely its penchant for geometric shapes and abstraction, so the examples of recognized generative art typically cover combinations of shapes and abstract coloring. The thrill of producing generative art is that the artist exerts control over the magnitude and location of the randomness, and given that each individual is unique, the art generated by two people will be different, each piece a co-creation delivered by the algorithm, and the individual.
Some early generative art
Georg Nees was an early adopter of generative art and produced this piece in 1968 called Schotter (“Gravel”). For each subsequent row of paving, the magnitude of the randomness of both the rotation and location of the piece increases slightly. Traditional art required additional time and effort to develop a certain piece. As can be imaged for Georg Nees’ work, the time needed by the computer program generate further extensions to this piece require only a nominal amount more computing power.
Generative art NFTs
The appreciation of the blockchain and the ownership of art layered on top of a cryptocurrency token has taken off this year. It’s a movement in its infancy but is appreciated by these “new age digital artists” who seek to own a 1 of 1 piece of art, albeit part of a collection of similarly produced items.
Tyler Hobbs is a well-recognized artist, known for his Fidenza collection. Each piece of the collection has a unique set of drivers, or seed variables, that determine the randomness, chaos, color palette, width, and density of the art. The beauty of NFTs are they capture the value of not just the art, but also the value of the community that supports and enjoys it.
As a purely digital medium, generative art has enabled a new surface area for artists to experiment with artistic expression and engage collectors.
Identity as a form of generative art
We can now appreciate the output of a piece of computer-generated art, inclusive of its randomness and chaos. But bring individuals into the fold, each full of their own randomness and chaos.
As PhotoChromic, our take on generative art as an expression of an individual is that the input or “seed variables” should come from the unique owner. Adding dials to a user interface to allow someone to choose the degree of turbulence in a piece, the color palette, and the theme would help each user produce a “1 of 1” for themselves.
But what about adding their face to the mix? Each face has known dimensions to it, measuring things like the upper lip height, the subnasal width, and the brow bridge height. These too can become variables in the creation of the artwork, ensuring nobody else can copy your work, and that each individual on the planet would have a totally unique artwork — a digital form of a fingerprint.
Facial dimensions are not just unique identifiers that are part of your key to generating your artwork, but also become that identifier that can create utility for you when wanting to utilize your NFT on the web.