Deep Dive: Tyler Hobbs and His Artistic Process

by ImperfectLine

generative art
generative design
code art
tyler hobbs

This article is dedicated to one of my favorite artists. Tyler Hobbs is a visionary when it comes to combining generative art and the analog world. Here I will use resources that Tyler provides to us via his website. I will also review some my favorite projects and individuals works to date.

Who is Tyler Hobbs?

"Tyler Hobbs is a visual artist from Austin, Texas who works primarily with algorithms, plotters, and paint. His artwork focuses on computational aesthetics, how they are shaped by the biases of modern computer hardware and software, and how they relate to and interact with the natural world around us. Tyler develops and programs custom algorithms that are used to generate visual imagery. Often, these strike a balance between the cold, hard structure that computers excel at, and the messy, organic chaos we can observe in the natural world around us."

Why is Tyler's work so special?

Well, the amount of thought, calculations, expertise, randomness, imperfection and so much more goes into making his art. Tyler has the perfect combination of passion for painting, drawing, and plotting mixed with his background in computer science. This is a lethal combination for a generative artist. Tyler often takes his generative work and brings it to life using many different techniques.

His work is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, which is why I was initially drawn to it. After my inital observing from the surface, I dive deeper into the background and process of the artist. At first, I had an extremely hard time understanding the importance of this new form. It seemed as if you had to be technically sound to make it past surface level observing. Luckily, Tyler guides you through this barrier on his website. When I discovered Fidenza, I became obssessed with the process. It clicked to me that conceptually this body of work was extremely difficult to produce in which I grew a greater appreciation for it. I can't even imagine the amount of headaches and sleepless nights that Tyler put in trying to ensure the quality among the entirety of the algorithm. This collection is what drew many collectors to Tyler's work. Certain generative processes include 'Traits' or 'Rarities' which actually display percentages of a specific raritie exisiting. My brain started to fog now as I looked through the different possibilites that exisisted within Fidenza. Fidenza is an example of long-form generative art which is the cherry on top. Every piece is unique but easily identifiable as part of the set.

I am extremely grateful for this set to exist. It was the easiest way for me to understand generative art without reading textbooks or studying historical references which I later went on to read.

You can read more about Fidenza here.

You can read more about long-form generative art here.

The Process

Tyler tends to start a new program by sketching new ideas in a sketchbook, just like many other artists would when preparing for a painting. Sometimes he will start a program from scratch, while other times he will use parts of exisiting programs. To me, it is like an architecture building a house from scratch, starts with the blueprints.

Following the initial sketch, programming plays a big part in executing this idea. Tyler essentialy writes code that will output the images that he sketches, or something wildly different. I imagine it is extremely difficult for an artist to plan accordingly. The struggle that coders have ran into in the past multiplies due to the fact that an artist has an output they are chasing. Tyler starts simple and re-runs the code several different time to see what the output consists of similar to how a painter uses trial and error. I view it as writing a new language (input) that possesses qualitative traits (output). This phase is allows for true discovery and experimentation.

Curation plays a role as well. Upon completion, Tyler has created an algorithm that can output an infinite amount of artworks. He carefully hand picks a few of his favorites from 100-200 outputs. He attempts to pick a range of outputs that express the entirety of the algorithm. Some programs are not curated at all, which relates to the long-form approach that I mentioned earlier in the article.

Once the pieces are chosen, Tyler likes to convert them into physical pieces. This may include plotting, drawing, painting, and printmaking. Some piece are hybrid as well which would be executed by the plotter and hand painted after. The plotter is fascinating to me because it enables an opportunity to plot something that would be unfeasible by a human due to time constraints. The plotter can also be programmed. Tyler once programmed a plotter to dip paint brushes and make brush strokes. A fascinating experiment and I'm excited to see if this method resurfaces in the future. Printmaking is another way that Tyler has been able to show the details of the algorithms. Often, printmaking is the best way to view his work. In my opinion, it is better to view his work this way.

Pieces That Caught My Attention

Fidenza #395

  • Luxe Colors
  • Low Density
  • Spiral

Incomplete Control #66

  • Green and Red
  • A lot of depth
  • Mix of different colors
  • In my opinion, the prints are much cleaner than the digital images.

F(l)ight by Tyler Hobbs #12/30

  • A beautiful mix of code and plotter drawings.
  • The dense, thick texture on the one spot in the last row is amazing.
  • Every drawing in this series is great. A very complete set.

Thanks for reading! Look out for more coverage on Tyler and some of my other favorite artists.

Related Articles

Visual Trophy
Contact Us

Copyright 2022