Matt Pearson’s next-gen abstracts

Going beyond abstract art modelled by hand, Matt Pearson might adopt anything from the roll of a die to sophisticated computer software in his exploration of generative art. 

“Generative art, as a concept, is slippery,” Matt explains. The key commonality is the method of production. A ‘generative’ method implies there is a degree of autonomy in the process, a mechanism of some sort. This doesn’t necessarily have to involve computers; it could be a natural process – using the wind to move a brush, for example – or the movements of an unwitting agent.”

Matt’s works are misty creations created in software. A computer programmer by day, he felt his creative side was atrophying. Then he discovered Processing – “a perfect entry-level [programming] language for artists”, he says. “I fell for it, even as an experienced coder, because it instantly took away many of the headaches and esoteria associated with traditional programming.”

Programming allows for endless repetitions which, as Matt says, would be infinitely tedious for any human to perform. “This opens possibilities for exploring subtle variations within very large conceptual spaces.”

But at times generative art can be too… well, digital. “Computers are about precise, logical perfection,” says Matt, “which is why I take particular delight in attempting to produce naturalistic, organic aesthetics from within these mechanical confines.”

He adds: “This is actually surprisingly easy – it’s just a matter of finding the ‘wrong’ way to approach it.”

Matt Pearson’s book Generative Art: A Practical Guide Using Processing (Manning) is out on January 28.;