Kali Interview

“Oblique #48” by Kali

Who are you?

An intuitive, chaotic and self-taught creator that found in computers and coding the way to express things that couldn’t have seen the light otherwise.

When did you start making art?

Difficult to say, but as a teenager in the 90’s I did several things, like writing songs with my guitar, writing short stories, drawing things both handmade and digital, and I also tried to make a videogame that I never finished. It was a point and click adventure with all the assets made by me.

When did you start making generative art?

Well, if I have to go to the start, I think I was 12 when my older brother bought one of the first home computers, a Commodore 64. I was fascinated with the graphics. He taught me how to program with BASIC and I remember making some weird experiments on generating things using the character set and simple math. Later when I owned a PC, my uncle showed me how to render the mandelbrot set and I wrote my own mandelbrot explorer, also in BASIC. This allowed me to start experimenting with my own formulas and algorithms and I began seeing coding and maths as a paintbrush for generating a new kind of imagery that I’d never seen before. I was totally blown away.

“Lonely Tree #71” by Kali

Why do you love shaders?

I learnt about shaders when I was a member of a website called fractalforums.com (now it’s gone). Once I figured out the basics and implemented the raymarching technique for distance fields, shaders gave me the freedom and the speed to explore my own 3D fractal formulas and coloring methods in realtime. As a fractal art enthusiast this was heaven. I have never used any fractal rendering software since then. Later I joined Shadertoy and I became a shader addict. 

Besides the fact that they bring you all the GPU power to make your stuff, I think I love shaders because I’m kind of wired to the way they work. Sometimes they could be something challenging and complex, but in its purest form what the shader wants from you is simple: “This is a pixel, these are the coordinates, we are at this point in time. Tell me what color this pixel should be.” Then you write a code that will run for every pixel in the screen. The same code. You have a bunch of built-in functions and integrated vector math. And a lot of functions and techniques shared by the community. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

What is your creative process of making a piece of generative art?

It is not always the same, but generally once I have an idea then it’s a balance between pursuing an objective and just letting intuition and creativity flow. Sometimes the result ends up being quite different from the original concept. I use my own tools, as I developed some techniques and I have my own recipes and ingredients. But I highly depend on my intuition to innovate and make the whole thing work. Also I work a lot on the final details. Sometimes I think I spend up to 50% of the total time on the final adjustments until I convince myself that it’s enough.

“World of Ideas” by Kali

Your artworks are generally under 100 editions. Why did you make this choice?

Sometimes it’s part of the artistic concept. “Almost Habitable Planets” had only 30 editions and it was because I liked the idea that they are very rare planets and therefore there should only be a series of small amounts. But in general I like the idea of not putting more than 100 editions out there, to maintain the value of the editions. 

Lonely tree is a personal favorite of mine. How did this piece come to be?

Like 20 years ago I did an oil painting of a tree, alone under a partly cloudy sky.

I wanted to recreate that, and I had this method of generating a tree with shaders using what is called a KIFS fractal (kaleidoscopic iterated function system). I’m happy with this artwork but I only regret having added movement to the tree, as it feels a bit detached from the scene. 

“Lonely Tree #75 by Kali

How do you know when you have “completed” a generative work?

I recently gave away one of my artworks titled “Good Enough”, and I’d like to quote what I put in the description:

“I tamed a 3D volumetric fractal to do this. Not an easy task, several hours of fine-tuning trying to reach what I want to express and please my eyes. Making sure that every iteration not only gives interesting results but they are part of the same concept. But when to stop? When it’s finished? Well, maybe it never is. We are imperfect beings and so our art is. Everything always could be better, but sometimes we have to stop and accept that it’s over, that it’s the best we can do. And the best we can do is good enough.”

Do you have any personal favorite creations you’ve made?

I think my favorites are “Last Trip” and “World of Ideas”. They have something in common, the use of 3D volumetric fractals. Both have experimental rendering methods, but “Last Trip” doesn’t look like a 3D fractal at all as I used some tricks to make it look like a painting. It was inspired by a mysterious email I received, that also inspired the short tale I put in the description. For the “World of Ideas” piece I wanted something that made me feel serene, with the slow moving objects going where they will, and the muted color scheme. It puts me at ease every time I watch it.

“Last Trip #98 by Kali

Why do you make art?

OhI think I just need it. It makes me feel alive. Sometimes if it’s not working solely with computer graphics, it could be a song, a written piece. But guiding a computer to generate artworks that resonates with me is priceless. I could spend several hours exploring new ideas, adjusting the details of a piece, or just playing around. I really enjoy it.

Is there anyone you want to shout-out?

Jpupper is a creative coder from Argentina. Programmer of the visual tool called Guipper.

His works are aimed at the ideal balance of the combination of p5 and shaders. He’s not only a great artist with an unique style but he’s someone that is always willing to help others and give support, especially to the Latin American community of graphic programmers.
Also he introduced me to NFT and Tezos so I’m very grateful.

“Out of a Polaroid #47 by Kali

Anything else?

I’d like to thank you for the interview and this opportunity to tell the community more about myself. I’m glad to be around such great artists and to have found a new place where my art is appreciated. Thanks to everyone for the support!

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