"I sell forms and colors for a living"
That’s what New York City based artist, designer and technologist, Joshua Davis says about himself on twitter. But he’s selling his bio a little short. Davis uses unprecedented techniques and creates work that is 100% original. Davis’ work is inconceivably intricate and unique. So much so, that a highly trained craftsman or programmer couldn’t re-engineer his designs no matter how hard they tried – Davis’ artwork is the digital equivalent of a snowflake.
In order to create work at this caliber, Davis pioneered an art making process known as “Dynamic Abstraction,” which generates artwork from Flash-based computer programs. Davis writes these computer programs based in Chaos Theory, which then execute random patterns of his hand drawn artwork. Davis calls this process, “Computational Design,” and he names his body of work “Tropism,” which is defined as the innate tendency of living organisms to move or grow without cognitive thought.
One of the biggest artistic influences for Davis is Jackson Pollock. Davis said, “I like Jackson Pollock. I don’t necessarily like his work, but I like Pollock as an idea.” The resonating idea is that Pollock’s paintings aren’t derived from a concept nor deliberate control of the paint or brush. Pollock (and Davis) initiate and “own” the finished work that they create, but the artists are only vehicles for the chance and movement that they cannot control.
“Tropism” at it’s best.
Following Pollock’s example, Davis loses control when he makes his art. In return, both artists make original, unrepeatable pieces. Davis’ computational design programs are randomized and unencumbered with very little restrictions, so the programs generate visual products of pure chance. Pollock’s fortuitous paintings are also produced by unplanned movements with limited controls such as the canvas frame, media, pigment color, and time duration.
When making artwork, Davis plays three roles – “the programmer, the designer, and the critic.” The critic, he says is the hard part because he’ll sometimes run a program 300-500 times before arriving at the result he wants. He mentioned running a program for 2 weeks before he saw the perfectly rendered design of his liking – a final result that “suspends chaos in a state of harmony… like waiting for that beautiful accident.”
Apple describes Davis as Infinitely Interesting and “abduzeedo’s blog” names him as a design legend. Follow Joshua Davis on
Twitter @joshuadavis or check him out on Flickr.
- IE9: Joshua Davis showing an endless public mural of digital art (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Why The Killers, Joshua Davis Partnered With Internet Explorer 9 (fastcompany.com)
- Drips is a Flash-based painting app that lets you pretend you’re Jackson Pollock (downloadsquad.com)