What is Generative Art? And how does it work?

I don’t know about you, but right up until last week, I had never heard of the term “Generative Art, ” let alone have any idea what that would mean.

To sum it up in a nutshell; Generative Art is the combination of both randomization and order that utilizes a computer language, with the end goal of creating a piece of artwork. It’s both a totally new way of looking at our perception of art, and a drastically new way of thinking when working with code.

That all sounds cool, right? But how would you go about making some generative artwork?

Well, I don’t really know. I have a basic understanding of JavaScript, but essentially, you write a list of rules for the computer to follow when creating the artwork. Something like “any lines should only be X thick” or “the circles should be red and blue, but NEVER yellow” for example. Again, only a minimal amount of understanding of how this works, but I think that’s it summarized. With these rules in mind, the computer then goes about generating the art, hence the name.

Below, you can see some fantastic examples of what can be done with generative art. Keep in mind that all of the art you’ll see have been created with code only. No Photoshop, no Illustrator. Only code.

“Generative art refers to art that in whole or in part has been created with the use of an autonomous system. An autonomous system in this context is generally one that is non-human and can independently determine features of an artwork that would otherwise require decisions made directly by the artist.”

Wikipedia

As you can see, there really is no limit to the number of styles, patterns and designs that can be generated from this type of art. I think what I love most is the order that can be seen from some of the works above.

The very fact that a machine can create beautiful works of art really shows us the direction that the art world is going. If you didn’t already know, would you be able to tell that the works above weren’t made by traditional methods?


If you’re interested in learning more about generative art, I highly recommend you check out the links below.


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