Learning to code this semester has been one hell of a journey. I’m not that proud to say I’ve cried about coding, but I have. There are witnesses. But it has been a worthy experience, and an important one. I have trouble with depth perception. Which is kind of funny because I’m a softball player, but a problem nonetheless. My mom says it’s because she let me play computer games before my brain was finished developing that section. Needless to say, this has affected what I thought I could do in terms of art. I see things and I think I can paint that and then I put paint to canvas and his nose is between his eyebrows. But in growing and developing my art, I eventually learned that I can adjust to my depth perception issue by looking at lines. I started thinking about how subjects are made up of a configuration of lines. All that being said, I was drawn to the snowflake starter code because the shapes based in clear straight lines that make sense in the part of my brain. I always wanted to draw animals, but I had a lot of trouble with their natural shapes. When looking for tattoo ideas I came across these images of animals created from triangles. I love the interpretation because it looks natural and geometric at the same time. This is much of why I liked Mondrian. He uses lines to create these interesting and engaging pieces and I wanted to do something in that vein. Though mine is much more chaotic than most of his. Coding this was easy because I learned early on that I like working with triangles in a system. Their shape is so dynamic to me and they have such a practicality in them. So I decided to code this elephant triangle by triangle in code. And I decided I wanted to tie it into my system. I thought the movement that came with the manipulations I made to the original code gave the system a unique and exciting texture. It gives the piece movement which it should have. I found the elephant tedious to code mostly. It was a lot of copy and pasting points and connecting the dots, but also making sure to keep track of which points are where, how long each line, what angle? I never thought I was going to code a system. I know I didn’t do it myself but even just fixing it and make it do what I want it to do was kind of surprising, at least when I thought about it a few weeks ago. I’m still working on the movement of the lines, but I like the kind of static-ness that makes it more like a background. The elephant was a natural decision for me. My grandmother collects elephants and she passed on her adoration of the creature to me. I am enamored with their grace, their intelligence, and their might. But they’re also proven to be afraid of mice. I think maybe for me coding was the mouse. I had no reason to be afraid of it, I’m kinda smart, and figuring out how to work a code wasn’t going to hurt me but it terrified me. The prospect of coding a system made me want to quit before I even started. But I’ve made it work for me and I’m proud of what it’s going to be.
Okay, so loops have kicked my ass. Well, coding is kicking my ass, but here I am, trying. And not trying hard enough, but trying nonetheless. This project seemed like a fun idea, but when introduced to all the new ways to code things, I was second-guessing. In trying to understand concepts, I recalled struggling in math when I was in high school. I eventually came to a realization that I was trying to memorize formulas rather than understand why they work. I wish I could give a concrete example of this, but I have blocked all memories of math after my second year in geometry. Anyway, with the prompt, I immediately thought about my summer job at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers. Their summer show featured artist, Robert Zakanitch, and pulled from the museum’s archives to produce a collection of pieces with the theme of flowers. Zakanitch is a little obsessed with floral patterns, and more broadly the idea of patterns.He is a founder of the Pattern and Decoration movement, actually, and he talked about how he was inspired by things like the floral linoleum pattern of his kitchen floor. This has little to do with what I actually produced, but I had in my head that I wanted to do something floral-like. I never for a second thought I could code a flower, I have to be realistic with myself. What I did come up with draws inspiration more from Bridget Riley in that her designs like Natajara are simple shapes turned into a more complex pattern. So when I sat down to code this thing, I realized I don’t know what I’m doing. I have a starting idea, and maybe that’s all I really finished with, but I struggled, needless to say. I got my software engineer friend on FaceTime to try to help me, and he kind of helped. I don’t know what I’m missing, besides time and practice and patience. What I ended up producing is a cop out. I’m pretty sure there was a much easier way to code what I did, but I wanted to produce something that if nothing else is nice to look at, and I did that. I haven’t given up exactly, but I have hit a wall, and I’m trying to motivate myself to push through it. What I like about this is its simplicity, and that’s not a cop-out. I like the vintage colors, that I can’t even take credit for. It reminds me of Thanksgiving and birds. I can do better.