Art from Code: Nice to Look At

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.

Zakanitch's Soaring Gardens Grow
Zakanitch’s Soaring Gardens Grow

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 couldn't communicate what I was trying to achieve to my friend, but here is a rough rough sketch
I couldn’t communicate what I was trying to achieve to my friend, but here is a rough rough sketch

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.

Something Nice to Look At
Something Nice to Look At

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.

Author: Kam McNair