When I began working on this assignment, I wanted to create a dynamic and interactive image that reflected a part of my personality while taking inspiration from Paul Klee. I noticed that in Klee’s self-portrait, his face is divided into geometric pieces of different shapes and colors. In my self portrait, I tried to echo that fragmentation using the arc() function. I created a face of different colors out of quarter circles. The division of a face into four sections seems to allude to facets of one’s personality by depicting them abstractly. I made the eyes with ellipses and then used a rectangles to form the neck and the mouth. The mouth is divided horizontally into two separate rectangles, which is an allusion to the way that Klee divided his own mouth into two tiny rectangles.Initially, I considered creating a few sets of palettes out of chosen colors to depict different moods and emotions, but decided to experiment with randomness instead after considering the tedium of compiling upwards of twenty variables for different colors in the different palettes. Instead, I declared six random color variables and assigned them to different shapes. All the shapes are different colors except for the facial features. I wanted to keep the facial features one color to keep them somewhat stable throughout the iterations of the image. I used the mousePressed() function to reassign those variables to different random colors. I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting palettes the random color variables created. I wasn’t expecting the image’s colors to look as cohesive as frequently as they do. For this post, I took about thirty screenshots and included my favorite ones. The colors definitely work to affect the mood and personality of the face. To me, the quarter circles represent different areas of my psyche circling through different processes and emotions as the colors change. I’m glad that I chose not to use preset palettes for different moods, because I think that ultimately would have led to simpler expressions of emotions (a blue palette for sadness, a red palette for anger, etc.) In reality, human beings don’t usually experience one emotion at a time – we experience multiple emotions across an array of actions and reactions. After speaking with Angela in conference, I decided to further diversify the expressions of the iterations by adding randomness to the dimensions of the mouth and eyes. I made a few more variables for width and height of the eye ellipses so that the eyes could change expressions. The mouth was a little more tricky, because the usual rectMode controls the upper left corner of the rectangle along with the width and the height, which meant that the left hand mouth rectangle didn’t stay aligned with the center of the image and connected to the other mouth rectangle. I changed to the rectMode(CORNERS), which controls the upper left hand corner and the opposite lower right hand corner. This allowed me to keep the inner side of both rectangles at the same x value throughout the iterations.
Before creating my self-portrait I never considered myself an artist in any dimension or medium. However, as the end of my first month in Art From Code quickly approaches, I’ve found a budding appreciation for abstract artists and art not concerned with perfection. Thus, my self portrait is very much a reflection of the personal and intellectual growth of this last month after seeing Ian Cheng’s Emissaries and Paul Klee. These two artists in particular resonated with me because I find the idea of creating art that is ‘perfect’ and without flaw daunting and discouraging. In contrast, Cheng and Klee’s artworks don’t possess a final or fixed ending to me, which is what inspired among other thing, this self-portrait.
In my self-portrait I worked primarily with animation, inspired by Emissaries and our continual work with loops. Before even writing down ideas or sketching, I was possessed with the idea of a moving, interactive face. I personally feel like my face is a canvas that changes ever day, and in that same vein of thinking about unpredictability produced from finite code, I did not want my self-portrait to keep a single colored face, but rather have a moving and constantly updated face. Animation, however, came with it’s own challenges of course.
In my process sketches many things were discarded, left behind, changed, and tinkered with until reaching this final self-portrait. That is also one of the reasons I loved this assignment, because one change in code propelled both myself and the project into a different direction. Originally, I wanted the background cells to change color with each other down the y axis to create a synchronized and smooth gradient of color from top to bottom. While I was unable to achieve that originally desired gradient in my code, by experimentation and error I found that changing the background color while retaining the proportion of rgb values produced incredible patterns that I would have never imagined possible. My own stumbling through the code led me to produce a self-portrait I liked even more than my original idea. Every time I refresh the page I come across a new pattern and color scheme I’ve never seen before, and I was pleasantly surprised how I avoided perfection but found it again through the chaos of loops and animation.
Not everything was left up to chance, of course. I wanted to also include very stationary elements about my face and identity in my self-portrait as well: specifically, my eyes, beard, and nose, and ears. If given the opportunity I would also probably add eyebrows as well. I decided to only include one ear because of Paul Klee’s Senecio in 1922, with his woman with misshapen eyes. It was that characteristic of the artwork, along with its striking colors that drew me in. I am very satisfied with my final project and how I was able to strike a balance between purpose, chaos, and infinity, much like Ian Cheng in Emissaries. For a someone who has never felt like an artist before I am very happy with my self-portrait from code.
In my sketchbook, I mostly worked on problems that surprised me with their complexity: the moth, my hair, and the lightning bug. It turned out to be far more difficult to turn bugs and the shape of my hair into forms that I could use for this portrait. Moth’s wings are usually curved in irregular forms that were practically unattainable. The solution to this problem became forgoing the curves altogether and doing a sharper and more stylized moth. The lightning bug was complex in ways I did not expect because I wanted it to be at an angle. This, in hindsight, was a bad idea. It ended up taking a lot of pure trial and error before any of the bug looked good. The final problem was my hair, which does not follow any regular shapes and trying to sharpen it looked wrong in comparison to the rest of my head. It eventually took four arcs to finally get something even close to my actual hair.
(Image 1)After getting a feel for the outline of the portrait, I quickly structured the code to fit my necessities. I decided on a static image, utilizing realism for color and basic geometry for shape. By (Image 2), I’d created a visual representing my literal portrait. I then wanted to add some more detail to further represent my “self”.
(Image 2)As a passionate dog lover and mother to three-and-a-half year old Chinese Crested Davi, I knew I must include his image in my portrait. Being that Davi is my greatest love, I wanted to represent our bond through a kind of melting image, a blurred line between where I end and where he begins.
(Image 3)As I’ve begun to experiment with coding, I find my most consistent interest lies in the use of color. Through the digital color meter tool, I colored myself and Davi using photographs as references. As I am not yet able to form exact shapes to replicate reality, I enjoy utilizing exact color temperatures. My self-portrait represents both my idea of self and my experience as a new coder. Through the consistent color palate and basic geometry, I feel I am able to express what I hope to convey, a literal portrait with blurred lines between reality and imagination.
To generate an idea of how I wanted to approach this assignment, I first glanced through the examples posted on the shared google drive. At first, it was just to figure out a template for my code but by the end, I had a pretty clear picture of what I wanted to create. I didn’t want to make a completely accurate portrait of my facial features, but rather make it a bit more abstract. This meant experimenting with unconventional shapes to create a basis for my facial structure and using different color schemes.
The first idea I had was to create a code that switched the facial expression through clicking the mousepad. Another was to create a portrait that cycled through multiple faces, with multiple facial expressions. Both of these influences derived from the examples posted on the google drive. They are the images shown below.
In the portrait on the left, the eye brows are raised and the eyes get bolder through the mousePressed function. I also like the lack of borders in the facial structure. What I found interesting from the portrait on the right was the split face and color scheme. I used that split face idea in my piece to create divided sections of the face, enhancing its abstraction. I don’t know the names of these artists or if they were past student work, but both portraits are very unique in their own right. From these portraits, I realized borders don’t necessarily need to be drawn out, the portrait can look more like a caricature or animation, and that even the slightest improvement, like making an outline bolder, can have a huge impact on the final output.
By making it interactive in this way, you can present a wide range of emotions or any representation, and create a more accurate depiction of yourself. With one picture you are limited in how you display yourself and one picture can not define a person. With multiple images appearing, you can exhibit more facial expressions or emphasize certain moods you may have. In my final portrait, I tried to show a clear change in expression that resembled aggravation, through the broken glasses and lowered eyebrows. You can also see how the lips separate and my idea was to go further and place text in between but I was having difficulty with adding that.
From this assignment, aside from the structure of the portrait, I gained a stronger appreciation for color schemes and their significance. Thats what catches my eye immediately when I look at other portraits. It makes it more interactive for the viewer because it gains attention. In past assignments I didn’t place much of an emphasis on the color scheme. I thought it was strictly about the image but from my self portrait, I realized how color schemes can drastically improve a piece. The lightness of the shades in the face go well with the light greenish background of the canvas.
What I also found useful for this assignment was the sketchbook. This is the first piece I’ve been using the sketchbook to create an outline or experiment with what I want to code. Before hand, I was making things up along the way. Obviously I still had ideas, but I never formulated them on to paper. Also, by sketching first, I had a smoother time finding the right coordinates to set my code at, and the comparable proportions of the various shapes.
In this second draft of my self-portrait, I wanted to continue with the idea that the two places I have lived (New York and New Jersey) have had different (but equal) influences on me. However, with the help of crit and conference, I realized that my first map was more of a collage of the different aesthetics of these two locations, rather than a map of these place’s influences.
In order to make this draft of my self-portrait a map rather than a collage, I added rough, hand-drawn sketches of my bedrooms in each location to represent a sign system. There are multiple locations (and therefore multiple bedrooms) because of the amount of times I have moved within both states. The size of each sketch is relative to the amount of time lived there (which happens to coincide with the amount of influence the place has had on me). “UNKNOWN, NY” is a glimpse toward the future, as I know I am going to be moving apartments within New York City in the next few months. This unknown location is already slightly affecting some of my life choices, therefore influencing me in the present, despite the uncertainness of the place. The text within each room are words that represent my feelings towards that place and how they have affacted me.
The connective system shows which places are related in the terms of “moving house”. In the period of the last six years, “home” has been multiple locations at once, and the lines of pictures that cross between the rooms represent which houses I moved directly to and from. The pictures that make up these lines are representations of each place, what I think of when I think of each individual location.
The background of the map is how one is intended to differentiate between positive experiences of moving and negative experiences of moving. The darker the background gets, the more sad or traumatic the loss of a home/house was. For example, the move between Galloway, NJ and Manhattan, NY was a time of sadness due to the relocation to a new place from a childhood home.
Ideas that were discussed in the class readings, such as the fact that maps give us a type of reality that allows for a deeper understanding of specific individualistic ideals deeply influenced my own self-portrait. The idea that maps give us a sense of identity is an important aspect that I wanted to portray, especially because of the quote “mapped images have become essential to our sense of the world, to our place within it, to much of our identity” and “even our sense of coming from a particular place. . . to our sense of who we are, of what we’re doing, of where we’re going”. The aspect of a place’s importance in relation to an individual is something I wanted to show accurately. This self-portrait is a map because it proposes the idea that the relation between various locations are negative or positive/neutral in a personal sense. The map discards geography and time in order to make a statement about the influence of movement from one place to another. Through the display of specific rooms the represent different towns, and color-coded connective lines, the map makes the journey of movement between various places within NY and NJ (through my feelings toward these experiences) visible.
Artist References: Monica De Miranda-In the back of our hands and Jeannie Thib- Georaphia. In addition, the class guest speaker provided inspiration for the idea of mapping out rooms in houses:
While conceptualizing my second iteration of my map, I chose to focus on the way in which idea/memories are filtered, curated, and relegated into the projecting ones decisions into the future. The way in which, one reflects or applies hindsight to decisions, writes most of the equati on for how their future is shape, this is true besides for the element of chaos which in unaccountable in life.
I wanted to use the idea of a growing viral body as my map. The virus breeds and certain of it s offspring grow bigger, and others lay dormant, described in white circles, the bigger the size just means the amount of time spent in consideration, the density of these ideas describes the
I decided to make a semi natural background, using tones which can be found in nature to translate this effect. I then assigned connective paths which are pointed into infinity. Then I have three separating boundaries which stem from the map boarder and are on the closest plane to the viewer.
The boundaries are “Out of Consideration”, “Experiential Boundary”, and “Perception LIne”, each of these separators define the actual decision to see or not see, or choose not to include ideas and experiences in future decisions.
The map is then broken up into another level of separations: “Future”, “Past”, “Present”. I wanted to add this axis for analysis to provide another aspect of my own thought process, and what weighs in on the actual decisions I make towards the future.
My map proposes a way of considering ones linear history and experiences in a new manner, one which is personal to me. The negation yet proclamation of my important past emphasize something personal about me; my tendency to avoid specificity, which is certainly clarified by the white circles. My map makes visible this very contradiction in my own persona/ality. Being human is about revealing clear contradictions within self. Mine is that I know what I am doing, yet still doing it.Woods, describes the function of clustering and connecting seemingly disconnected aspects of a map. I also appreciate her notion of a system of signifiers. The artists who influenced me from the readings: Emily Ginsburg and Jane Lackey influenced me most. Their use of minimal color and creating abstract patterns with underlying narrative maps, gave me direction. “Both used ideas of the invisible, ephemeral, unseen, and cerebral in the creation of a map”, as I said in my first post.