Ben Gotow-Looking Outwards (Generative Art)

by Ben Gotow @ 12:38 am 28 February 2011

I’m a huge fan of Dave Bollinger’s work “Density” ( He does a mix of generative art and traditional art, and he blends computer programming with traditional mediums. He’s done some generative works that are in a wood block style, and I think they look pretty cool. Unfortunately, he doesn’t document his process very much.

There’s a service online called DNA11 ( that produces generative art from DNA. You submit a small DNA sample, and they run a PCR of it, colorize it, and enlarge it onto a large canvas. I think it’s a really cool form of generative art because it’s completely personalized.

I think it’d be fun to use this assignment to create an art piece I can hang in my apartment (my walls are looking pretty bare right now…) so I’ve been focusing on generative art that creates static images. I found the work of Marius Watz pretty interesting because he uses code to produce large wall-sized artworks that are visually intriguing and have a lot of originality from piece to piece, while retaining a sense of unity among the set. You can browse the collection of final images here:

1 Comment

  1. Aahaahah nice selections. The bollinger stuff is SUPER tasty, no? OMG. Ok, get cracking. Making nice work like these takes LOTS of tweaking and many iterations.

    Hi Ben, Here are the comments from the crit. Please update your blog post with documentation of your results…-GL
    Some brief discussion of the context of use could be nice. For example, do you imagine using these as visualizations of SMS messages on your phone? Oh, paintings.

    “Simple” not necessarily means “boring” so I agree on using these examples.
    Could use more contrast between font/background. Looks like DNA.

    They’re all little fish! – I saw fish too!

    I say you play with the colors a little more. Really cool :)

    The second second loses some of the aesthetic loveliness of the first one. I think it has something to do with the color palette. Also, I liked the triangles on a triangle grid aspect of the first one.

    It feels like you’re decorating the information rather than letting it be beautiful on its own. If you’re going to make something purely aesthetic like this then the data seems an arbitrary addition.

    I agree with the above comment. I think that the data doesn’t feel like an arbitrary addition, I jsut feel like your visualization focuses too much on being faithful to the data as recognizable data, as opposed to using it as a jumping off point for a beautiful print.

    The font and color is a bit too hard to read … perhaps undulating colors is a good way to get line by line legibility?
    The hues of each plane is giving a sense of three-dimensionality, and maybe you can distort the letter on it to make it seem co-planar…

    I really like it. Large prints could be really nice. I like the fact that the white space has meaning. I agree that the font could be better. There is still validity to having it be a print.

    It ends up being rather pretty and even somewhat informative.

    i see “eat n park”!! << This is not surprising. I like the vis choice with the threads. When printed and hung behind the couch it reminds me of the prints you can get of your DNA... Don't be down on your work. I like the overall aesthetic of the patterns you are creating. They have a little bit of a retro feel to them at a micro scale. Interesting to see them at a larger scale as wall art, but agree that maybe its not the most appropriate form or context for this data. I like the idea.. Maybe you should really do a large format print The matrix, xmas edition. The macro/micro aspect is cool.

    Comment by Golan Levin — 2 March 2011 @ 1:00 am

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