INFO

Tyler Hobbs is a generative artist from Austin, Texas. For each work, Tyler writes a custom computer program specially designed to create an abstract image. His work focuses on the interplay of randomness and order, and draws inspiration from paint, vegetation, and naturally occurring patterns.

Contact

tyler@tylerlhobbs.com

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Archival quality single-edition prints of selected works are available for sale.

FAQ

DO YOU ACCEPT COMMISSIONS?

I am not accepting new commissions at this time. If you have a particularly awesome project you think I might be interested in anyway, feel free to send me an email at tyler@tylerlhobbs.com.

DO YOU SHIP TO MY COUNTRY?

Yes (most likely). I charge an additional shipping fee, depending on the country and size of the artwork. To discuss an international order, please email me at tyler@tylerlhobbs.com.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE OUTPUT IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE BEFORE YOU RUN IT?

Sort of. My programs are typically more like loose guidelines than an exact description of what should be drawn. Randomness is carefully worked into many aspects of my programs. So, when I alter a program, I have a pretty good idea of how that's going to change the image, modulo the randomized aspects. Of course, sometimes my mental preview is also incorrect, and it's worse (or when lucky, better) than what I expected.

DO YOU HAVE A FINISHED COMPOSITION IN MIND WHEN YOU START?

No. I usually start with a very simple concept to play around with. Maybe an idea about a process, a mood, an old approach to modify, or a combination of multiple techniques. From there I experiment with different approaches, attempting to solve basic visual problems. My use of randomness comes in handy here, occassionally suggesting solutions that I hadn't considered. I may modify and rerun the program several hundred times while developing a work.

IS THIS DRAWN BY HAND?

No, almost 100% of my works are created entirely through programming along. Notable exceptions include facial features in portraits, or landscape features designed to match a specific location.

WHAT PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE DO YOU USE?

I use Clojure, a Lisp dialect that runs on the JVM. This is a very powerful, but pragmatic language. JVM support means that it's easy to use Processing for basic graphics. Using a Lisp means that I can say a lot with very little code. And, because nobody else has to understand it, it doesn't matter if I write weird code, so the usual Lisp objections don't really matter. Plus, I can drop into Java if I really need to optimize something (which is rare).

HOW DO YOU GET THESE ONTO PAPER?

I generate high resolution images, which are sent to a local fine-art printing company in Austin. They create the prints using a multi-pigment wide format Epson printer. The paper and pigments are archival quality, meaning that the prints are rated to last approximately 200 years. In short, these are extremely nice prints.

DO YOU OFFER MULTI-EDITION PRINTS?

No, all of the prints sold through this website are unique, single-edition prints, meaning they are one of a kind. Sometimes, if the program outputs multiple images with what I consider "significant" enough differences, I will offer those multiple images for sale. These are generally more affordable than singular images from a program.

HOW DID YOU START DOING THIS? WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND?

I have a degree in Computer Science, and worked as a professional programmer (specifically, on and around Apache Cassandra, a distributed database). I also have always loved to draw and paint, and studied traditional oil painting and figure drawing. When I began to focus more on artwork, I tried to figure out what unique skills or knowledge I could utilize to make my artwork more interesting. Programming came to mind and I sort of thought, "what if I wrote a program that created a painting?" It turns out that's an interesting question, and one that I'm still investigating.

IS ANYBODY ELSE DOING THIS?

Yes, there are other generative artists out there. In fact, generative artwork started back in the 60's, mostly on early science and military computers. Today, you can find a decent survey of active generative artists on the /r/generative subreddit. It's still a fairly small community.

With that said, I consider my aesthetic approach to be wildly different from other generative artists. I'll leave my work to speak to that subject.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE AN ART PROGRAM?

It depends. my typical range is probably five to ten hours. sometimes I get lucky, and something good falls into my lap two hours in. Other times, I may grind it out for twenty to thirty hours.

WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN (X)?

Probably.

DO YOU USE PHOTOSHOP?

No. I do create digital paintings for the hand-drawn elements metioned above (portraits, specific landscapes), but I don't edit or manipulate abstract components with an editor.

DO YOU INCLUDE THE SOURCE CODE WITH PURCHASES?

Yes, I include a signed printout of the source code as well as a signed certificate. You'll probably be the only person other than me to see the source code, as I don't usually open source my work. I don't usually polish this code before printing it, so don't judge me. It's more interesting that way.

IS AI GOING TO TAKE OVER ARTWORK?

I don't use AI or machine learning myself (at this time), but I like to follow those who do. I think the most interesting work to be produced in the near future will be humans augmented with AI and ML, using it as tools in their kit. As to whether an advanced AI can really make Art (with a capital A) without human influence, I won't attempt to answer that question definitively.