Art From Code: A Response to Grace Hertlein

While Grace Hertlein is best known for her innovative editorship of Computers and Automation, she’s a notable computational artist in her own right. In contrast with Georg Nees, Hertlein employed randomness to produce soft, organic-looking images. Bearing this in mind, I created a series of flowering spirals. Spirals occur naturally in a diverse variety of formations from Romanesco broccoli to Nautilus shells.

I created three spirals using three different nested for loops of contrasting colors. I chose variations on cyan, magenta, and yellow, as I’m interested in the CMY color model. Randomness was applied to the orientation of each spiral, and I increased the randomness from loop to loop. Rotation was multiplied by an increment.

In the second image I generated, the first integer in each loop was divided by the increment value.

In the third image I generated, the second integer in each loop was added to the increment value. Additionally, I increased the randomness from loop to loop.

I emphasized form and color as opposed to line or rigid structures, in keeping with the style of Hertlein’s work. Additionally, the animated pieces are a response to her interest in “perpetual change or the alteration of the original image.” As Processing runs each loop, a “state variation” is generated. I was unable to predict the behaviors of each loop, so my process involved repeated subtle reconfiguring and experimentation with different permutations. The resulting images are a series of curated accidents.