Digital expressionism

Introduction to modern art

There is “art”, and there is “modern art”. These are two entirely different things. It is difficult to define “art” (if you are interested see: "test for art"), but it's quite easy to define “modern art”. In fact you need only two criteria:

   You think "it's modern art", and

   You think "I could have done that myself".

There are quite a number of things you can do yourself, so the challenge is to make people think that it's art. When I decided to become an artist, I mean when I decided to try becoming an artist, I realized that each artist needs inspiration. I decided to be inspired by Piet Mondrian and Barnett Newman.

Piet Mondriaan (later he was called Mondrian) was a Dutch painter who lived from 1872 to 1944, and he made this:

Mondriaan Composition with Yellow Blue and Red

Composition with Yellow Blue and Red

Barnett Newman, an American painter, lived from 1905 to1970 and he painted this:

Newman Who's afraid of Red yellow and Blue

Newman Who’s afraid of Red yellow and Blue?

If you damage it and then restore it, it looks like this:

Restored Red Yellow Blue

Not afraid of Red Yellow or Blue!

There once was a (rich) guy who wasn't afraid of red, yellow, or blue, but that doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that Mondrian and Newman both inspired me to start thinking in red, yellow and blue.

So I made this:

Blue Red Yellow

Composition in Red, Yellow and Blue

… and this:

Red Yellow Blue

Composition in Red Yellow and Blue

You may think "It looks like modern art", and you may think "I could do that". Of course … it's modern art!

Here is a quote about Barnett Newman:

He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters

And here is a quote about Piet Mondrian:

Mondrian's paintings exhibit a complexity that belies their apparent simplicity.

Yes sir. And I made some simple digital computer art with an apparent complexity. It may look abstract expressionism, but it isn't. In in fact, it's my own name in a binary form.

How was it done?

In a computer, all characters are represented by a number (the ASCII code, which is a number between 0 and 255), for example A=65, B=66, C= 67, a= 97, b=98, etc. So my name can be written as a sequence of (decimal) numbers. In numbers my name looks like this: 72 101 105 110 32 66 105 106 108 109 97 107 101 114 115. (Note: the number 32 is the ASCII code for a space).

All these numbers can also be written in binary form as sequence of 8 bits (1 byte). For example in binary format the number 65 (representing the "A") is written as 01000001, and 66 ("B") is 01000010.

For all the letters in my name I took the ASCII code, converted it to binary format, and then painted this in a grid. The 0 is represented by a  red field, and the 1 by a blue field (or vice versa). The space between my first name and surname I painted in yellow. Voila: another composition in Red Yellow and Blue.

And that was only the beginning

I realized that there are more colors than just red yellow and blue, so I designed a computer script (PHP script) to generate my name (or any other name) with different color combinations, different shapes of fields, different borders, etc. Below are some examples, but you can click here if you want to start making your own digital art name.

Blue Yellow Silver

Blue Yellow and Silver

Lime Teal Silver

Lime Teal and Silver

Silver Black Yellow

Silver Black and Yellow

White Red Lime

White Red and Lime

As you see in the examples above you can play around by adding spaces at the beginning or end of the name.

Now is your chance to become a new age artist. Click here and generate your personal digital art name in any color combination. Copy it on a piece of canvas, hang it on a wall, and call yourself a color field painter. That's it. And when an innocent observer classifies it as "abstract expressionism", you smile, because it's only you who knows the hidden meaning behind the color fields.

New artistic movement

The term "abstract expressionism" does not cover our new school of art. It may look abstract, but it isn't. Let's call it "Digital Expressionism". But there are even other possibilities. Pointillism is a form of painting in which tiny dots of primary-colors are used. Perhaps a digital art name can therefore be classified as neo-pointillism. My master pieces on this page occupy just a few thousand dots each. But if needed I could expand them to millions or billions.

Design your own Digital Art Name

Please also see SillyArt, where you can download a free software program that creates similar digital art. This program has more options and flexibility than the website based script.