Symbol 1

In this collection, each mark on the digital canvas is made by text of the algorithm that created it. When viewing Symbol 1, you're viewing its code — logic becoming art.

Here are a few variations to illustrate a range of outputs. (Scroll down for a bigger example that shows the text of the algorithm.)

If you look closely at an oil painting you may see brushstrokes.
If you look closely at this example of Symbol 1...'ll see snippets of the code that generates the piece: text from for() loops repeated over and over; the Random() function itself weaving through the piece; and the hash code, like an artist signature, displayed on the bottom right.

Brushstrokes. Three rectilinear variations, shown here in black and white:

And three curved (bezier) brushstrokes, also shown here in black and white:

Layouts. Symbol 1's layout is based on a grid, a ubiquitous organizing structure in generative art. Each cell of the grid is stroked by a brush (or brushes) illustrated above, and then rotated by a randomly generated angle.

In some iterations, a grid of single characters ('+', '.' , or '*') appears in the background, as a grounding presence — and a nod to ascii art of the past.

Palettes. Each iteration has a dominant, secondary and highlight color. Dominant colors are saturated elemental shades, secondary colors are mostly desaturated versions of that dominant color, and a third color highlights the other two. A few examples:

Nature vs. Machine, Nature & Machine

Organic and mechanical forces have long been in tension in art and architecture. Art nouveau's floral curves vs. art deco's industrial geometry, Jackson Pollock's declaration "I am nature" vs. Andy Warhol's confession "I want to be a machine," etc.

This conversation continues in generative art. One collection might appear surprisingly organic, as if crafted by hand; another might appear strictly computer generated, showing the expressive power of machines.

Symbol 1 joins this conversation, offering another way to synthesize the natural and the mechanical. Just as a crashing ocean wave could be explained mathematically by the forces that generated it, an image in Symbol 1 appears almost chaotic while revealing the logic that created it.

About the Title

Symbol 1 is a term from "First Principles," a chapter in "The Mathematical Analysis of Logic" (1847) by George Boole, a founder of modern logic. For Boole, "symbol 1" represents the Universe "comprehending every conceivable class of objects, whether actually existing or not."

Generator. You can see the algorithm in action here.