Ryan Bell Interview

“Fragments of a Wave #22” by iRyanBell

Who are you?

Ryan Bell. I’m a software engineer based in Las Vegas, NV.

What does generative art mean to you?

I see gen art as a way for artists to add greater depth to a given work. It reminds me of sculpture, in that viewers have the opportunity to explore a piece from different angles. But, rather than sculpting the piece, the artist sculpts the process.

When did you start making generative art?

From a very loose definition, I’ve been dabbling with gen art for as long as I could code. However, only more recently (over the last ~1yr) have I made a more conscious switch into more deliberate forms, in place of various fractal & cellular automata-type processes that grant less control over the output.

What does your creative process look like?

Lately, my favorite approaches start with a very technical problem, where I have some speculation that if I can write the algorithm to solve it, the results will look interesting. Once something starts to take form, it’s very much discovery to find the edges / variations of that form and bring clarity to it.

“Fragments of a Wave #313” (rarest) by iRyanBell

How do you know when you are “done” with a piece of generative art?

That’s a very good question. There comes a point where I have the thought “I should probably make a backup of this code, because if I keep working, I might lose the magic.” Sort of a sense of reaching a local maxima. Often, I come back to one of those checkpoints and with a small amount of polish, that’s what gets published.

Your genesis mint on FxHash was “Organized Chaos” as self described “Generative refrigerator-art for the blockchain.” How did this work come to be your first on the platform?

Organized Chaos was both my first p5 project and my first project on fxhash. It was opportunistic timing of recently becoming aware of fxhash beta and having this experimental project, which was a take on implementing a box-packing algorithm and tracing it with a line sketching algorithm.

“Organized Chaos #20” by iRyanBell

After came your work “Decision Trees”. What was your goal with this piece?¬†

Decision Trees was an experiment with setting up 2 distinct visual elements (the foreground/background), where the background pays homage to John Karel’s isometric windows, and the foreground plots these fractal trees using an idea for particle splitting. The gradient variants pay homage to Snofrow‘s Chromie Squiggles.

“Decision Trees #5” by iRyanBell

Your most recent work “Fragments of a Wave” is the center of attention right now. What is the story behind the creation of this artwork?

Fragments of a Wave is a great example of stopping at the right time. Just before publishing, I felt like every one of the outputs coming off the line was very interesting looking and unique. I boldly set the mint fee + total supply fairly high for the platform and went to sleep (~3 am) — by the time I woke up, they’d all been minted out and I had to buy from collectors on secondary to send to friends.

What emotions, moods, or ideas to you wish to¬†encapsulate in “Fragments of a Wave”?

Technically, the challenge on Fragments of a Wave was to apply triangulation to curved streamlines, then shade the cells with gradient bands. Less than a mood, I have a sort of tactile appreciation of Fragments that plays with my visual sense of depth, like running your hand down the binding of a stack of vinyl record covers.

“Fragments of a Wave #453” by iRyanBell

There is lots of variety in “Fragments of a Wave”. How important was variety to you and are there any color palettes or certain features that you enjoy looking at the most?

Yes! I’m glad this has been well received — adding varietal depth to the generator is the most time-consuming part of working on a gen art project for me. I hope to continue to expand my vocabulary of color palettes and the thought process behind color selection. I implemented a probabilistic color/feature selection algorithm I’ve been using with my recent works so I can be very specific about the shape of the numeric ranges.

What have been your thoughts on the reception this work has received with over secondary sales reaching over 32,000 $TEZ?

It’s been a very fun ride!

“Fragments of a Wave #412” by iRyanBell

What are your artistic goals for the near future?

I plan to keep on building, experimenting, and exploring.

Where do you see the future of generative art?

More grails, more legends, more liquidity. We’re just getting started!

What adds value to your art?

The community has seemed to gravitate toward these recent projects. Keeping this discussion active is what continues to bring value to collectors over time.

“Fragments of a Wave #486” by iRyanBell

In your opinion what is the difference between good and great generative art?

It’s that delicate balance of technique, creativity, taste, sophistication, and the vibes in the community.

Is there anyone you’d like to shoutout?

Props to the fxhash crew for getting it right out of the gate.

“Organized Chaos #48” by iRyanBell

Anything else?


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