The Chaotic Existence of the Computer Artist
April 5, 1996
a.k.a Rodney Chang, A.A.,B.A.,B.A.,M.A.,M.A.,M.A.,M.A.,MS.Ed.,D.D.S.,Ph.D.
(at the time of this writing not yet on the Internet)
In 1997 Pygoya established lastplace.com and
began referring to himself first as a "cyberartist" (1997)
then as a "Webist" (2003)
(HISTORICAL NOTE- this article includes first thoughts that led
to the written Manifesto of Webism launched online in 2003- see bold
Computer graphic programs and its finite deterministic "canned" (preprogrammed effects not made by the artist using the software) are "organisms" in the context of nonlinear dynamical systems ecology that compete with the rest of the pool of commands for space (computer memory) and time (in central processing unit; CPU) for survival in the making of computer or digital art. Time for the command has limiting factors such as the hardware's speed of computing which is inversely proportionately related to the artist's/user's waiting time (down time creatively unless the brain is pondering the next move or doing other system chores) during processing manipulation of the command. There's a (yawn) wait or busy signal on the screen. So making art with the computer is process more than results like any other complex dynamical nonlinear system of world events as described by chaos and fractal theories. Making computer art is best facilitated when the artist is positioned mentally on the edge of chaos, waiting for accentuated visual breakthroughs when unpredicted, sudden changes occur in the phase transition domain of the statistical chaos world and model. Not all (computer) artists work alike. Not all artists do what they do for the sake of (making) art. Not all artists know what and why they work. Enter psychotherapist importance in the well-being of the stand alone working artist, especially when the financial rewards for long term commitment isn't there. But for this particular artist, myself as a case study, phenomenologically as artist-researcher I have a clear picture of what my life as an artist over thirty years has been about - as diagnosed by my new acquaintance of fractal and chaos theory, new concepts of reality taking root in the 80's and endangering science as it has been practiced prior to these mathematical model discoveries.
Like any other artist young and raw but with latent talent, I sought to improve and develop through formal schooling and dedicated work, work, work in the "studio" until the work got better - more polished. I could tell way back that my work "sucked" but it did not stop me from believing it would get better - far better than the average artist's output. Because in my mind the ideal images laden with fresh artistic ideas were visible. But limited technical skills hampered its real world manifestation for others to see and appreciate. Enter the computer, personal and affordable in the mid-eighties. At first it was a new toy with all these magical effects, including making routine blends of colors automatically that only a master watercolorist could do previously. Technical ability all of a sudden wasn't a premium to being a good artist, just its recognition of quality and incorporation into one's ideas for creating art. My art's visual details suddenly got much better but to me it was normal baseline stuff for any professional artist, nothing new in itself. For ten years now, new art could come from some other source besides professional level traditional art media techniques, now available to anybody who bothers to "read the manual".
Up to prior to reading up on "chaos" I saw myself as some sort of solitary saboteur of the traditions of art and its establishments with all their ingrained biases and defensiveness against the new, like any other field. There are, even in art, powers that be, that do not want to be overthrown by obsolescence and irrelevance to the changing times. I thought of myself as relatively passive but mere operator or catalyst to the ever-growing power of graphic software. I, in a certain way, was playing a game as artist, attempting to get the freshest imagery from the latest version of software with the minimum of time and effort. I can be selfish, on the edge of laziness as an artist. I figure with so much artistic firepower with computers as my art "medium", I shouldn't have to work as long and as hard as traditional artists to produce significant bodies of work. And just to rebel from the platform of defensiveness maintained by almost all other computer artists (actually I have never heard any other artist take my position), I claim the computer itself to be AN ARTIST, not a "dumb tool" with the user-artist in control as the creator. I stated that the stuff I have displayed in hundreds of exhibits, including museums, has been a collaboration between at least two players, the user and the machine. But in fact I considered myself the lesser in importance, intentionally taking a back seat as observer of the progress and graduated increases in power of both graphic software and the operating hardware capacity over time. I merely "drove" these machines with software as the latest octane to see how fast, how far they could take me on my journey to becoming a better (and better) artist. Once I was satisfied with my current work then I feared I would stop making art, stop being an artist. Several times I thought I had come close to that treacherous place in the artist's life. But I always came back to the well and commenced making new efforts to go further. Maybe because I couldn't help notice new graphic software, new games in all these mail order product magazines that junk up my business mail as a dentist in private practice (my "real job" and patron role in support of the "starving artist"). I looked forward when my job would be complete, fostering the inclusion of artificial intelligence into the scheme of things for the working digital artist. To this day what I have to work with seems really primitive, almost stupid. We WILL be light years ahead in decades to come in regards to what we have to work with as user-artists on personal computers. That's why I delight to be deliberate in bothering to work in the NOW (and the past 10 years during the BEGINNING of PC art making ability) producing paintings on canvas - for posterity. Yes it "documents" my artistic life on the computer as artist but it also importantly documents the evolution of computer graphic power for personal computers. The 1980s paintings I live with now on my walls to me have a sense of "antiquity". Although they look "futuristic" to the naive viewer of art, they look primitive to me and probably to the knowledgeable programmer who would see the vintage graphic giveaway marks of the derived imagery. Collaborating with artisans (artist in their own right) to execute the paintings from my computer generated image "blueprints" was/is part of my position that I am just a cog in the overall process of making new art with the computer. The computer, the software programmer (even if the product is intended to make profits by assisting commercial graphic types make their ads and not for inspired use by serious artists to help embody their noble ends), the painter and the computer user/artist all are part of the team that manufactures the new art for the new world known as the Global Village in our new Information Age.
So much for my background as a working artist using the computer. A formal background in science (dentistry, zoology), art (MA, MA, AA) and art psychology (Ph.D.) has served me well to have a makeshift model-theory by which to work with purpose and an art philosophy (scroll to bottom portion) by which to live and with a sense of meaning and purpose for existing. Cut to the present, to my new promised enlightenment through exposure of chaos and complexity theories.
The analogy drawn here is between Darwin's ideas of natural selection of species in a limiting environment and statistical models describing chaotic behavior in real world complex dynamical nonlinear systems, such as a unique snowflake forming in the atmosphere with eventual falling to the ground. In my situation, as I am starting to see things, I (I emphasize the "I") AM the ENVIRONMENT, the ecology. Graphic programs are populations of species called COMMANDS. With programs at my perusal I potentially have unlimited visual effects that I could conjure up as a computing artist. Limitations to this infinite graphic power manifestation include current level of graphic effects programmed (state of the art graphic programming, itself limited by hardware capability), economics of making the art, making the electronic products for today's consumer market and amount of time vested into working in my electronic "studio" as a "part-time" artist with a "regular (self supporting) job". As it turns out in my case the TIME in the studio per session hovers around a CONSTANT. I probably average 1-2 hours of "access" time to making art before life's demands curtail extended further working time (such as family scheduled routines, going to sleep to have sufficient rest for the next work day). Since I am goal oriented and aim for one or more completed works of art per session, I unconsciously have built up an efficient methodology even as it pertains to deriving everlasting works of art. In other words, I have "x" amount of time to OUT PUT and get these pixels moving into rightful positions on the screen to elicit in myself, ultimately the cruelest of art critics, satisfactory material that I call confidently not just "art" but "new art". So within the limiting parameters of TIME I unconsciously have to be SELECTIVE in which commands of the array available in many different programs available as my computer "system". They COMPETE with each other as they COHABITATE in my internal hard drive for selective USE, for processing time when active RAM give them visual life on screen, as each command contributes to the final image saved as a work of art. So how do I choose what to use, in limited time to get immediate results (granted other computer artists don't work in this impatient, instant gratification style but can spend months on perfecting a single image - we're all different, especially as artist)? Turns out, adopting the chaos theory to form analogous links to my complex and dynamic PROCESS (as any artistic endeavor is to other creators of artwork), I AM the ecology in which commands live, interact, adapt, compete, survive, multiply or become extinct! It all happens unconsciously in my mind, through my work habits according to chaos theory!
Specifically, through the user's personalized sense of values, efficiency and productivity to create (the goal) change (new art), software is manipulated via image processing in search of "mutations" of visual effects, different but probably evolved from what already had previously been visualized, experienced, and accomplished by the artist. My life work "develops" as my body of work, using a multitude of different computer platforms (hardware) and software, "evolves" over time. Only the most "successful" software commands are routinely used in processing while others fall into disuse, becoming "extinct" in my active computer graphic visual vocabulary. These cannot compete with newer effects which may be more complex visually (thereby more interesting to the artist), become trite or boring over time (thereby repetitious, such as "fad" graphics like color gradients in my earlier work) or be consumed by new software commands that include the old effect in a composite more complex visual effect. In fact with the accumulation of bench time at the computer I have unconsciously developed habitual use of sequences of graphic commands, predictable in overall effects which at this point I consider PLEASING and thus contributory and INDIGENOUS to my signature artist STYLE. These clusters of commands have withstood the test of time and continue to survive as part of my active ecology of commands by which I make my next work of art. Such whirls of commands coadapted not only to my way of working but symbiotic to each other (I need to use together to get certain effects) can be considered certain "traits" that have evolved not unlike "attractors" identified in dynamical nonlinear systems. My artwork falls into these twirls of modes of creating graphic marks, then haphazardly move on to other clusters of commands for further processing toward some ultimate pictorial end. Over time, groups of such graphic attractors accumulate as part of the artist's working method, thereby producing a sort of CONSTANCY and STABILITY of the completed results. The different pieces all look like they were done by the same artist (even if different programs were used and such programs were not made by the artist). A recognizable artistic "style" is born. But as the same attractors are used a sense of rut, of stagnancy eventually arrives. All the new works begin to become simple refinements of previous works. Of course galleries like to see that. New works are identifiable by even the naive collector as the latest work of artwork of an artist whose earlier work has already appreciated in financial value. But to not change, like an natural ecosystem, would be the kiss of death, of extinction of the artist's endeavors. Luckily, in the computer artist's sphere of activity, temptation as a kick in the butt, to take on risk for change, arrives in the offering of new graphic power embodied in available new software. With a sudden jolt of a new effect from a new program added into the internal drive's command POPULATION, such a small change of visual effect can cause an avalanche of change in the total image. The operator's fascination with this new, seductive command/product challenges all previous adapted commands that constitute his previous work for time and retention in the studio. If artistic studio time remains constant then that means some older commands will be eliminated in order to complete a work of art at the end of each time limited session. Survival of the fittest. Sudden potential new change to the final product's look - new software potentiates the possibility of taking the artist and computer into the realm of "phase transition" or the "edge of chaos" where creativity is maximally potentiated and most efficient.
"Co-evolution" occurs when the artist works simultaneously with several programs. On a more "global" scale, programs with all its species of commands become extinct when they fall into disuse (obsolescence). But other programs link together to create effects as genetic components of the established artistic style. As the artist's selection changes the pool of hybrid art genes (commands) adapts in this new design and pattern ecology, displaying the latest development of artistic style. With new effects from newly introduced programs radical change can occur to the "morphology" of the artwork's appearance.
As processing units become faster with more megahertz bang-for-the-buck, I as artist can incorporate more commands into RAM action for the same amount of working time that's configured to my schedule and temperament. The more commands used the more "complexity" of design, of pattern, of artistic statement. In nonlinear complex dynamical systems a simple and small change can create sweeping change. As such a small new command sequence can inspire a very; transformed "mutated" image. Being parsimonious with my time as artist, the greed to discover/experience new effects (new art) is counterbalanced by the risk of unpredictable lost of time and effort. There have been many loss sessions when I used new software to create with and ended up only with garbage. More megahertz also enables me to be more liberal with the range of commands to be used in a session. Some not so dramatic effects are included as a refining ingredient that supports the more visually aggressive commands' effects that jump out at the viewer. With such expansion of the number and the range of effects, the cumulative image pattern is MORE COMPLEX. The more complex, the more chance of random and chaotic consequences. Another influence on the art making ecology with the ability of faster change is visual UNIFORMITY. Consistent use of attractors (clusters of command sequences) can be done quicker, serve as the basic baseline/foundation of one's habitualized style from which new commands for new effects can be planted in, merged and experimented with the established, all within the allotted working period. As such, with increased processing time, the environment or "climate" for making computer art stabilizes as all these idiosyncratic "whirls" of attractor clusters of commands become constants, predictable in the works of art.
As the computer art body of works grows and evolves eventually a niche will be established in the art world. Currently much resistance to such hybrid man-machine made art exists. Fear is evoked by traditional galleries, museums, artists, collectors, critics, and historians. Done by hand with excruciating patience with the prerequisite endurance of repetitious detailing still sells. Pain and suffering by artist is still equated with good work. The results of such skilled labor than are snatched up by rich collectors. But technology spawns its own culture. Look at the techie, geeky language now emerging on the Internet. Eventually those that live in that Global Village through specific artistic cyber-sites will crave for more. For pictures that not just mirror past world experience in online cyberspace or virtual reality, but for art created and born from the womb of technology herself. By bypassing regionalism, permitting the young East and West to talk, interact with each other, immediacy of global review instead of post-dated unreal time restraint, there is the promise of the propagation of a digital art appreciation (leading to eventual sales) outside of the present mainstream art world. We could possibly create a new art form that emerges from within global cyberspace, in order to fulfill the basic human need of having culture (cyberculture) whereever we roam. On the Internet the art of the real art world become merely REPRODUCTIONS in the virtual world, becoming less COMPETITIVE with the electronic first generation art imagery in this new art market niche. It's not too far fetch to consider the extinction of art and its marketplace as we now know it, after the development and proliferation of the Global Village in the next few centuries. Electronic art would go hand in hand with digital money, transactions, telecommunications, in a mature real time global society. With the further development of interactive art making, self reproducing graphic programs incorporating artificial intelligence, the art evolves, entrenches in its niche, dominates the art ecology and enhances the democratization of art making for all.
In summary I, as computer artist, now see differently in adopting the chaos and complexity model as my modus operandi for making art. I continue to use canned software, geared to commercial art application, in a way that challenges the deterministic visual effects guaranteed effortlessly by faithfully using the manual like a cookbook. My personal style evolves along with new commands thrown into the environment that I choose to work in, including its restraints of time, effort, technical proficiency and monetary funds. To accomplish new personified art I mix software effects, interbreed command effects, let attractors clusters adapt and compete for survival use, repetitively do the same procedures that evoke a common style but at the same time seek to live at the edge of chaos by seeking instability, revolutionary turmoil to my style through rebelliously throwing new commands as they become available into the stew.
When I first approached reading about fractals and chaos theory I thought it may open my eyes to something going on IN the computer as I used computer programs to make art. After all I knew scientists had succeeded in simulating "artificial life" in programming. For example one program creates numerical species that reproduce, compete, adapt and become extinct in their simulated ecosystem. One other program creates mutants of biomorphic patterns that evolve in the program but require input by the operator to instruct modifying or guided influences on the actual mutations. Here we have an interactive mutating system between computer and user. But in my case the current graphic programs are "dumb" from a self-evolving point of view. I, the operator-artist, initiate any "change" in my line of completed artworks which in turn really reflects the change in the active fauna of commands in my repertoire to make digital art at that point in time. The programs themselves are actually LINEAR in function. That is, activate one direction of the program via a command and one corresponding effect occurs in the image on the screen. It's one to one correspondence, change in x results in a direct proportionate change in y. On a graph using x and y as coordinates a straight line is produced. Nonlinear, non-dynamic, simple reaction between two factors. But in a nonlinear, complex dynamic system of a probable fundamental and universal process in all complex systems, the relationship between x and y is more muddled. A graph in such a system produces a slight convex curve - other influences unknown or unforeseen confound the interaction dissected out by man between x and y. So, in my art process case, my work over time does not get proportionately better in a linear way. Change in the nature of the works are based not on natural selection processes as in the above stated experimental programming for change/mutation but on AESTHETIC SELECTION BY THE OPERATOR. To my surprise, chaos theory seems to be operational in my art process as a computer artist but the dynamics going on is OUTSIDE the computer, INSIDE my head, in my behavior patterns. For this behavior to change there is either changes in the character of the commands (new programs, rediscovery of unused commands by rereading the manual) OR major changes in my life or lifestyle. For example what if suddenly I was retired as a dentist? It increases the odds that my constant time that I now plug into the electronic art studio might change. I'll have more "free time" to sustain longer lasting graphic explorations in the speculation for new art.
During the Cambrian period of our earth there was a boom in major new morphological forms in the fossil records never seen before or after again. Theorists think some sort of mass extinction opened up unfulfilled biological niches and there was a mad biological rush to claim niche stakes. Nature was meta-creative! Forms are estimated to evolve at the phyla level - major different types of creatures. Thereafter evolutionary changes, mutations were not as drastic but more of improving, modifying, and refining form for better fitness in the inhabited niches. An analogy is drawn to my output of computer art dated back since 1985. On my first venture into the digital graphic world my artistic life changed. With all the possibilities of graphic marks to be discovered I felt like a kid in the candy shop for the first time. I buzzed from command by command, testing effects and composing adequate early works with everything I could get my hands on. In a sense I was like a cat, leaving my scent, my mark, everywhere claiming my territory, my visual turf with the newly available graphic software power yet not popular with the masses of traditional artist still residing in their own world. My book, Rodney Chang:Computer Artist (1990, Creative Frontiers, HI), should have been titled, Rodney Chang:Computer Artist, Cambrian Period. It's hard, after reviewing all the images (100) in the book to link them all to the same artist through one identifiable style. But at the time that was the goal, to demonstrate the versatility of the new art medium with all it's novel visual effects unseen up to then (in my opinion) in the history of other art media. Like newly developing living organism in a new self-supporting broth, my art productivity teemed with sudden and exciting new shapes and forms. This new found sphere of working as an artist is characterized by the largest collection of graphic commands that I have used at one time to make computer art. My entry into computer graphics bordered on the fanatic. I found myself working with six different computers, going broke attempting to keep up with all the different software for each hardware system and its constantly update versions. Fill out all those software ownership registration cards (proof of purchase) and mail them out! The rationale back then was to produce imagery that could be characteristic of the hardware (and complementing software) for each brand of personal computer, such as the Amiga, Atari, Mac, Tandy and IBM machines. Today it seems my art output over ten years conforms to a sort of power law distribution in the number of commands regularly used in making art in a specific session. A power law distribution of x and y is not linear but forms a slight convex curve. If one studies my output over the years, especially my Paintouts series (computer images rendered as oil on canvases, now numbering about 180), change/mutation of the image may be related to change quantitative (set of commands used) besides qualitative (improvement or new graphic commands over the years). If the stuff used to make the pictures, commands as building blocks for the art change, then the resultant picture transforms. The artwork is the residue of the dynamic process of commands aesthetically selected by the operating artist with behaviors true to some underlying fundamental universal process, complex, dynamical and somewhat unpredictable.
It is merely weeks since I have become acquainted with chaos theory and the possibility that I AM an artist working chaotically. What happens now should I permanently adopt this belief system in my future work? There's a chance, after identifying specific important players in my process, that I may pay special attention to such elements in the production of my work. For example I may now attempt to consciously manipulate the number of commands I use per session or intentionally eliminate some of my most adapted, favorably entrenched commands to see how the imagery changes. Forced extinction or conscious manipulation to attempt to avoid stabilized ruts and get back to the "edge" of chaos to rediscover artistic defeat and inventivity at an accelerated rate. I could see my past (and future) works in a new light - actually do a controlled study of chaotic statistics to quantify chaotic functional relationships among the 180 digital canvas works completed. My body of works may serve yet another application - a test of chaos and complexity mathematical theory that holds up and applies, this time in the complex process of making art. And although I describe all this phenomena merely as a digital artist, could these underlining universal processes have been going on PRIOR to my computerized artistic life? What is the meaning of my having earned ten college degrees? Could it have been that the times were ripe (my college years, 60s-90s) to rebel from the fragmented "fields" of knowledge, endlessly extending such bodies by adding on bits and pieces to each respective isolated field, totally disconnected to other fields, to the "big picture"? This was the start up time (late 60s, early 70s) of the "multidisciplinary" approach to education in the "university without walls", the start up in certain mathematicians' and physicists' heads on the concepts of chaos as something different from the classic Scientific Method upon which all modern research and the building up of these separate fields of knowledge are founded. I intuitively was looking for answers BETWEEN the bodies of knowledge I was fed - art, psychology, dentistry, teaching, counseling, biology, communications, among others. What were the LINKS, commonalties among analogous concepts in different fields? How could I describe them, being aware of these links ahead of my educational cultural format, as an artist? What led me to make relevant, significant art down the road of life? Why try to do everything as an artist - painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, mixed media, installations? Was I that good (like Picasso?) or was I just doing internships with each courted media, unconsciously searching for a common underlying universal force in the artistic process? Why study something I labeled "Art Psychology" when dabbling with psychological theories was taboo for the art graduate student? Why write a book on the mental evolution of man as described in my books as "mental ontogeny recapitulates mental phylogeny"? Why label it "Transformative Psychology" and take on this view, this belief, of psychology as process for myself as a working artist? Could it have been, without realizing it, that I was setting myself up to be the ultimate chaotic artist? A discotheque in the dental office (1979)? Insane? Or yet another fearless decision to stir up my life with unexpectancies, nonconformity, uncharacteristic problems and challenges, in other words, relatively more chaos than other dentists have to deal with in their daily experience of professional life. So even as a dentist outside the art studio was I attempting to be true to setting up my life situation to learn from personal phenomenological experience, conflict and adaptation- even during my clinical hours? Did I already place myself in an environmental art test tube, for unpredictable results that could influence my ongoing artistic growth process? I continue to ask these nagging questions of myself over the years. Now I have a theory as working model to help make sense out of all this previous self inflicted situations and reactive behavior. And if all this underlying chaos processing was already in motion BEFORE I turned into a Benedict Arnold "computer artist" (not considered a "real artist" in Hawaii in the 80s), what inference can we make about other traditional artists? Are there in fact statistical distribution of behavior formulas governing their own artistic process (besides the so-called tapping into the universal creative spirit like some claim) that, unknown to them, are "pulling their strings", and as such enslaving them to impulsively sustain personal identities as artist, resulting in creative works, even if there is minimal economic compensation for such productivity?
A positive self realization is the result of familiarity with my new readings in chaos as artist. Before I was merely a "catalyst", the necessary crank to initiate self perpetuating visual results. I would wait for programmers to make progress (new "versions") for my own work to advance. I was in a supportive role, complacent to wait for artificial intelligence to enter graphic programming so computer art would really hit the fan as an art form. Suddenly my perspective has changed. THE COMPUTER, THE SOFTWARE, THE SPECIFIC COMMANDS OF PROGRAMS ARE NOT IMPORTANT. It's ME upon which the art is created by using programs with all its building blocks, its strands of 0s and 1s that comprise processing instructions, that add up to more than the sum of all those commands. Hey, it's (using the computer as medium) a MANUAL thing (not the underlying universal process that describes my art process)! I don't have to blame my art's shortcomings on the limits of today's computer technology. Newer, super graphic effects is supplemental "gravy", actually catalysts that potentially shake up my armamentarium of digital art making tools. Yes, my work does transcend the deterministic nature of programmers' offerings. My computer art mirrors MY SENSITIVITY, MY VITALITY, MY EXPRESSION as aesthetic selection among the potential pool of graphic tools (commands), retiring some, adapting to new forms, as I continue my journey, my quests, living the artistic life - chaotically.
Early computer graphic programs were cruder and inflexible in enabling the user to customize marks. It gave the operator the fundamental graphic effects of color gradients blended like a professional, geometric uniformly "fills" of any color, basic popular "brush" marks with unadjustable width, saturation and uniformity of color, spotty airbrushing simulation, etc. It was more difficult to hide, as artist claiming authorship of the computer image, the program with which the work was executed on the monitor. Today more program complexity is available through more available memory per effect and quicker processing rates (megahertz's) for programmers to work with in producing practical software for commercial artists and amateurs dabbling in computer graphics. I judge authorship from the amount of distancing from manual directed results in the image. If one takes a section on the image, can others recognize individuality or is it all canned visual effects of the software? With certain programs there are now parameters by which one can "customize" one's graphic marks, such as the size, brushstroke character and density of the mark relative to the pressure of the input device and its speed of execution. But to me the ultimate criteria for originality that severs the control of the software is the global IDEA of the image more so than its graphic constituents. It's not how fancy the fonts are but what a poem says, to draw an analogy. To insure total oblivion of the detailed minutia of a pixel-based mark and its dispersal from software commands, I have the captured computer image painted by hand. This "post-production" after digital discovery tends to eliminate any pixel level detail as trivial. In a sense visual scaling effects of the pixel level visible at my relatively low resolution level of working (600x400 resolution) is eliminated through painting on canvas with a real brush. Of course all the traditional values of responding (conditioned respect for paintings) to an "original oil on canvas" come into play in the appreciation of the aesthetic image. But the most exciting thing now is that the output from computer graphic imagery is now NOT computer based but just another painting. To further downplay my rejection on the worshipping of tedious and detailed craftsmanship as the mainstay of authorship I commission out the execution of the painting to another painter, using my computer printout and slide as "blueprints".
Hopefully the resulting painting impacts the viewer through the composing of IDEAS and FEELINGS with graphic constituents merely the substrate to support the latter. Such ideas and feelings surface from the deep well of the right hemisphere of our brain. When totally absorbed in the creative process, the artist draws from a multitude of levels of consciousness, many of which he or she is totally unaware of. Execution of such subjective resources of the artistic mind then foster works of art through the filtering methodology of chaos theory as applicable to creative art production.
Acquaintance with the possible influence of chaos phenomena on my art process and work has been therapeutic. The specific visual effects of the multitude of software, past, present, and future are not as important to the appearance of my work. It is I, the operator, that dictates the limits with which the computer assists in the making of art. With the multitude of time consuming choices via commands I must select what to use, in what order, and for what means. Since I am an abstractionist that does not start with preconceived subject matter, my process is more governed by losing myself in the flow of the process that reveals itself progressively on the digital screen. No resistance is put up to halt the subconscious in becoming involved with intuitive, driven (and sidetracked) directives. Although the process is guided by formal aesthetic values rooted in my formal art education and polished by 30 years of art making, effort is made to buffer what occurs to happen without censorship. Chaos theory also sheds new light upon interconnections among different academic disciplines such as those fenced from one another in the artist's experience of higher education. I now see that although specific results supporting fact of different experiments describe different phenomena of our world, all follow some sort of underlying rhythm of behavior in an orderly regularity in a SEEMINGLY chaotic natural universe. This basic truth is a part of our art through history.
OK, I am ready to take the 25 multiple choice question quiz on this article!
Figure l - Power law distribution characteristic of statistical complex dynamical systems
Figure 2 - Pygoya's theory of the order and formulation of art
Chaos, James Gleick, 1987
Complexity, Life at the Edge of Chaos, Roger Lewin, 1992
Mental Evolution and Art, Rodney Chang, 1980
Rodney Chang:Computer Artist, Rodney Chang, 1990