Showing posts from June, 2008

Something Stripey This Way Comes

Different, ominous, threatening...

One of the things I find both intriguing and yet also frustrating about art is that people seem to respond to it differently and this makes the experience difficult to explain and subsequently, to comment upon or even predict.

This image, which is an unaltered fractal from Tierazon, passed through several different categories of "worthiness" before I finally decided it was worth posting. After reaching that conclusion I deleted a couple of others that were quite similar to it in coloring and general content but seemed to lack something which this one apparently had, and more importantly, continued to have. The test of time is usually a good way of determining what has value, although sometimes I think we can lose the ability over time to perceive what originally made something important.

Anyhow, I think this image shows the subjective side to art quite well, since I'm sure many viewers will not like this image, which is such a different…


While most artists would be accused of narcissism if they talked about how great and wonderful their work was, this would not be true of someone who does what I do.

The great creative power of Clickism comes not from an artist's mind or from their skill in operating the tools of their trade, but in clicking on buttons and occasionally adjusting a slider that improves what they're looking at.

The only real talent in Clickism is in discovering the talents of algorithms, such as those in photoshop ("photoshop-compatible") filters. As I wrote once before, Clickism puts the so-called artist in the role of a sports coach whose contribution is the direction of the players in the game and not participating or scoring goals himself.

So with all that put aside, I will talk about the greatness of the "Extractor-scapes", because I've made yet another, and because I still marvel at how rich and creative such a simple sequence of filters can be.

It starts with any image…

Photorealism Can Be Boring

Sometimes the primitive stuff is more exciting

A few years ago, I got a video out from the public library called "The Puzzle Channel". It was a TV show from 1994 that featured short puzzles and mysteries for the viewer to solve. They were all pretty standard puzzles and brain teasers that revolved around a picture from which the viewer had to guess the answer to the riddle or the word that the image described.

What interested me the most was their use of "circa-1994" computer graphics to make the pictures that provided the visual clues for the various puzzles. Although, at the time, they were trying to produce cutting-edge, state of the art computer graphics, when I saw these episodes ten years later (2004) they had acquired a vintage, old-fashioned style to them which was probably never intended, and was in fact probably just the opposite impression that the original audience would have had.

Never judge an image by the number of colors in its palette

Things have ch…

Engines Everywhere

Vernissage.8bf (square chunks), India Ink (texture lines), a couple of Andrew Buckle's coloring filters of no fixed address...

I think it's natural for artists, or creative people in general, to acquire a semi-nomadic pattern of working. Picking up a new method or, in a digital context, a new program -- a new type of imagery -- eventually leads to boredom unless one moves on to something else.

The new something else doesn't have to be something you've never used before. In fact, I think one gets more out of the various generators they use by taking a break and working with one at a time and coming back and rediscovering the first.

Recently, I worked with Fyre for about a month. I was intrigued by it's smooth gradients and black and white "colors"; it was a nice relief from the colored chunks of photoshop filtering (i.e. "clickism"). But now I've drifted back to the Vernissage filter and working over the blocky results with various filters …

Seconds in Space

Wild legends always erupted whenever anyone, usually a child, asked how the Mars colony got started. It's of my opinion that, deep down, everyone knows the real reasons for establishment of the colony, but what exactly happened in the first days and even the first years, has always been the subject of much conflict and contradiction, even when you read the official versions recorded on Earth.

Although the colony was clearly just a badly thought out commercial venture backed by government money, I have often found myself preferring to re-tell some of these homespun legends of how our little martian village got started instead of the more drier accounts that are probably closer to the truth. My favorite one is about the ship-wrecked astronaut, although of all the legends, it's probably the least likely to be anywhere near the truth. But it just isn't very entertaining when everyone's sitting around a table by gaslight at night to save electricity, to tell their childre…

First Christmas on Mars

After the original deposits of crystal gas had been mined out completely, the Earth company wouldn't send out a supply ship unless we could guarantee them that we could send it back at least half full.

Despite our best attempts to lie about new discoveries and fake the levels of crystal in the storage silos, the Earth company wasn't budging, even though it meant we would not be receiving any Christmas shipment that year.

Some of our folks back home with help from an aid group that helped out starving space colonies like ourselves, got together enough money to send out one of those old-time drop ships.

It was supposed to break apart at ten thousand feet or so and land everything in several parachutes, but my dad said they never worked and that's why they weren't used anymore.

It wasn't scheduled to arrive on Christmas Eve, that was just a fluke. We saw lights in the sky, very colorful, and then a large whitish plasma cloud. I remember my dad pointing up at it and sayi…

Cherry Orchard

My ongoing experiments with the Blockwave filter in Showfoto eventually led me, as is always the case, to diminishing returns. I then started to chart the most unlikely parameter settings to see if I could come up with something else of interest.

The results were images like this semi-obliterated one which, unlike most of the others, had immediate and strong appeal -- to me. This scoured canvas seems to radiate the presence of a cherry tree (or apple) in full bloom (they have flowers) on a clear, early spring day.

Will it do the same for anyone else? Will this convey anything of value to another viewer?

1) So what?
2) Who cares?
3) You want your money back?
4) If you were as great as I am, you would see the greatness I see.
5) All of the above.

This is one of the first pieces of unintelligible abstraction that I actually like. Though the fact that I made it myself (pushed the buttons) makes me suspicious that I'm not being objective. But I often dislike my own work, and since I made …


This series of images were made about half a year ago and I can't remember exactly how I made them. However, my visual reverse-engineering skills suggest to me that they probably started out as a fractal and were then were distorted using one of the distortion filters (.8bf) by Mario Klingemann like Distortion by Hue or Distortion by Brightness. They were then India Ink.8bf-ed and subject to some of Andrew Buckles famous filters, particularly some of the color "adjustment" ones. In the words of the Cat in the Hat, "But that is not all, no that is not all". I then took that single image and produced two versions by shifting the hue in the Hue/Saturation/something else - tool.

I had originally wanted to use this image (the second one was the first made) in a short vignette about weather maps depicting storm systems over the ocean, but I never got around to that. When I finally did this set of "writing on pictures", I came up with a third paragraph a…

A Better Mars

All the images here started out as fractals from Inkblot Kaos, were then modified with India Ink.8bf (black engraving texture), and then modified with various filters for coloring and distortion effects. The text and all the filtering was done in XnView running on WINE in Linux. Come to think of it, they're all Windows programs running with WINE (a Windows emulator, or something) on Linux - Ubuntu, or actually more like Xubuntu, if you're interested.

Actually, although I'm sure most of you couldn't care less, the fonts are Windows fonts too! But really, they're not "Windows" anything. They're just applications that "use" the Microsoft Windows platform. If I build my own car and drive it down Acme Incorporated's road, is it an Acme Inc. car? So if I use the WINE windows emulator to run "Windows" programs, aren't they now Linux programs? But it all ends up on the internet and viewed through a web browser, which is fast …

Dead Souls

Made from a 2bit BW engraving from an old book with the blockwave filter from Showfoto
Someone take these dreams away,
That point me to another day,
A duel of personalities,
That stretch all true realities.

That keep calling me,
They keep calling me,
Keep on calling me,
They keep calling me.

Where figures from the past stand tall,
And mocking voices ring the halls.
Imperialistic house of prayer,
Conquistadors who took their share.from Dead Souls, by Joy Division

The creative process has always intrigued me. So much can be made in just a short while when one is "in the grove" or "inspired" or has "the muse".

I've heard of musicians composing some of their greatest work in almost the same length of time that it takes for them to write it down. I think Mozart was like that - on a good day.

When working with Generative Art programs you'd expect the process to be somewhat less constrained by the artist's frame of mind since so much is done by the software and t…