Elemental Abstract Art
— By Rich Poole
Creating generative art that feels natural and organic often means going back to basics, I set aside the code and consider the physical processes that produce a piece of traditional art. A single stroke of a paintbrush might create thousands of interactions between paint, bristle, and canvas.
I wanted this series to elicit the emotional response that comes from physical art, to contain the imperfections present in all art, from kids’ drawings through to the work of the old masters. I hope that the gentle brand of chaos that I’ve tried to instill in this series will lead to pieces that are both beautiful and surprising.
Texture and detail - Millions of individual strokes craft art intended for high resolution outputs and physical prints.
Powerful palettes - Vibrant elements and smooth blends create impactful pieces that can both complement and contradict.
Diverse styles - Three distinctive rendering modes combine with creative distortions to create outputs that are as varied as they are beautiful.
The earliest memory I have of being fascinated with fluid motion is watching a sandcastle, that my brother and I had made, being gradually eroded by the incoming tide at a beach in England. Each time, as the sea drew back, the water would nibble at the edges of our rather crumbly fortress, slowly and inevitably reclaiming the sand we had borrowed. As it did so, the grains would twist and swirl in the gentle eddies before the waves returned once more.
Fast forward some 30 years to Christmas 2021, my daughter had been given a paint marbling set by one of our friends. As we used sticks to swirl and drag the thin layers of paint, I was taken back to those times on the beach with my brother. We enjoyed creating our marbled art so much that we ended up buying two more sets. Whilst we were waiting for these to arrive, I was struck by the idea of trying to replicate the beautiful effects with code.An Element of Luck
At around the same time, I was also in the early stages of developing a series themed around elements, such as earth, air, and fire. I’d made progress creating palettes, but I was not having much success with the geometric structures that the series was based around at the time.
It occurred to me (perhaps more slowly than it should have done) that integrating the core ideas of fluid motion and elements could elevate both themes, giving rise to both natural and contradictory images depending on the particular elements and compositions of each piece.What’s in a name?
Kōripo - To whirl around, swirl, or eddy (pronounced kor-ree-po)
For collectors who may have followed some of my previous work, you will know that I have used Māori words for several of my series. We have called New Zealand our home for 13 years, our daughter was born here, for us there is no place we would rather be. The use of Māori is our way of acknowledging the importance of New Zealand to our family and our love for our fellow kiwis.
Each piece is constructed using multiple discrete-valued random variables. Even if these variables are identical, there are a huge range of possible outputs that can feel very different due to the use of gaussian, noise-based, and traditional random number generation.
The rendered output is generated by up to 1,500,000 particles tracking paths that are controlled by one or more multi-layered noise fields; these may be further warped by the use of distortions.
Individual path segments are drawn based on the distance a particle has travelled since the last segment was drawn. The rules for drawing the segments are varied based on the rendering style of the particular output.