Genuary is a generative art challenge that takes place in January each year. Participants use a daily prompt to “build code that makes beautiful things” (in the words of its co-ordinators), sharing their work on social media. Alex first did it in 2021. The structure of having to create some functioned code every day was difficult, but proved hugely rewarding. A number of ideas that he’d been toying with for ages quickly becamreal, including the code that developed into both Endlich Nach Zahn and Future Rope Core Memory. He wrote an article on LinkedIn about how it helped his creative coding to develop.
In 2022, Alex did the challenge again. This time he approached it with some clear ideas about what he wanted to achieve over the month. He had also started building a library of modular code that could relatively quickly be plugged together and pointed at a wide range of content. This meant he could focus more on the quality of the outputs, rather than worrying about just getting the code to work.
Overarching the month as a whole were a number of approaches Alex wanted to experiment with: isometric perspective, colour palette algorithms and recursive functions. It was also an opportunity to delve into more code-created imagery, in addition to the library of pre-prepatred hand-made images and other content he normally works with.
Sea Of Shapes
Alex developed four of the Genuary prompts into one-off prints. The first was “Sea Of Shapes”. The process started with a series of hand-drawn concentric circles that were scanned in and edited digitally. The code re-coloured these to a set palette, arranging them into a pattern intended to loosely resemble rolling waves. The whole process drew heavily on his experience as a textile designer. Alex would frequently hand-drawn motifs, edit and recolour them to a specific palette, before arranging them into a pattern. The code for Sea Of Shapes models this process.
Draw 10,000 Of Something
For this prompt, Alex re-visited an approach he’d first worked with in the late 2000s. Inspired by the use of spots as a stable in textile design, the code arranges circles either into areas of repeat pattern or individually, layering both into a complex whole. Colour is crucial. The initial version worked with a triad of colour; the palette has since evolved into a sophisticated algorithm that adapts the colour space to human perception of the spectrum. The circles are also textured with arange of different types of paper grain.
The use of isometric perspective has been an enduring theme in Alex’s work for Genuary. For the Architecture prompted, he wrote code that arranges a library of hand-drawn grids into an isometric cityscape. Partly inspired by La Défence in Paris, the work transforms abstract grids into images that appear representationally architectural. The outputs appear to be highly detailed hand-drawings, questioning the boundary between the digital and the analogue. Alex is currently developing a new range of artwork that extends this exploration of drawing and modularity.
Destroy A Square
In 2021, one of the prompts was a small block of recursive code, a function that calls itself. In other words, the code does something to some data, feeding the result back into itself again and again until some kind of condition is met. Highly complex reults can be acheived from very simple starting points. For the 2022 Destroy A Square prompt, Alex developed code that began with a simple square. A section of it was edited and added back to the image over and over again, reulting in a complex geometric image.
The code from Draw 10,000 Of Something is currently being developed into two new collections. It will use a wider range of motifs derived from textile design, with a selection of new colour algorithms and the addition of recursive possibilities. The code from Architecture has been developed into Connected Play, using a new library of hand-drawn images, building structures that are reminiscent of architecture.
Buying or commissioning
Genuary 22 is available as a series of archive-quality prints on paper. Browse and buy here.
If you’re interested in commissioning Genuary 22 at a different size or on another surface/substrate, please get in touch.