Art From Code: Understanding the works of Vera Molnar

Working in the realm of computer designed art using coding opens your eyes to a new world of possibilities because any idea you form can be presented digitally with a few clicks of a button. Anything your creative mind desires can be represented on a screen with practicing coding though it’s parameters can limit you sometimes. Even still, limitations with code push you to create all that you can within those parameters and inspire you to have. It inspires you to create things randomly on a whim using your imagination and intuition, which oftentimes forges the greatest pieces.

With this particular assignment our designs were inspired by the work of Vera Molnar, who used repetition to create detailed designs and patterns. She used the technique of gradualism, slightly changing a work of coded art with one by one changes of variables. These changes form beautiful patterns and because they are done variable by variable, it allows for multiple renditions of a piece that are all vastly unique but retain similarities.

I enjoyed this project because it allowed me to get creative, I started by forming basic rows of lifeless squares and slowly added colors and manipulated variables to make the piece truly my own. In making small changes I discovered patterns I never would have known to even create off of the top of my head. Manipulating the variables one at a time walked me through the process and showed me how to form new patterns with more lines and warped shapes that added more life to the piece.

I believe repetition is creative, in the sense that it forms patterns that are appealing to the eye and allow viewers to take their own personal meaning based on their perspective of the piece. Repetition limits an artist by forcing them to create some of the same art over and over but this creates patterns they often would not have seen before which can be inspiring and beautiful. Working with my own code I discovered this, rows of plain squares were bland and uninspiring, but adding colors I favored and subtle changes to my code created new patterns that I found pleasing and inspiring to take in. Similar to Molnar’s own description of My mothers letter where she changed the artwork over and over until it resembled her mothers handwriting. I had to manipulate my piece multiple times until It was something I could be proud of.

The trial and error aspect of gradualism greatly speaks to me. It takes multiple attempts to create a work of art with this technique that you can be proud of. It often leads to making more than just one piece because the changes you make to your art can be so influential and create whole other pieces. Gradualism reminds me of stop motion animation, where the work itself holds no value until it’s slowly starting to be manipulated into an animation. Stop motion takes years to complete because it is filmed frame by frame, directors slowly move dolls expressions and bodies and artwork to create a full length film. Similar to the step by step technique of gradualism.

Molnar’s work was deeply inspiring and my series was definitely birthed from that inspiration. Her technique is present in my series and allowed me to create my own design with her artwork in mind. The simplicity and repetition of it all demonstrates some of the inspiration I got from Molnar but the color palette and unique designs present my personal touch on the computer generated art. 

Author: Nina Brown