Tyler Boswell Interview

“Hydrangea & Patchwork #269” by Teaboswell

Who are you?

Hi! My name is Tyler aka teaboswell. I’m a frontend developer working on interactive web apps by day, and have acquired a recent obsession with generative art. I live in the middle of the desert with my wife, dog, and two cats.

When did you start making art?

I got introduced to Photoshop in elementary school and was immediately obsessed. I spent years making forum signatures for random people online (does anyone else remember those?), which was a lot of fun since I was never good at traditional art like drawing or painting. I’ve always been interested in art, which is partially why I got into frontend development. It lets me do mostly coding and techy work, but I still get to flex some creative muscles.

How did you start making generative art?

It’s funny because I got introduced to generative art in a very strange way. I wanted a new mousepad for my desk and didn’t love any of the designs I saw online. I figured with my coding background I could come up with some way to design my own without having to draw anything by hand. My company at the time was subscribed to Frontend Masters, a website that offers lots of frontend related courses and lessons. One of those that I found was a creative coding course, which I started watching and got me introduced to generative art. Being totally clueless of the generative art scene, I didn’t realize at the time that the instructor, Matt DesLauriers, was one of the biggest names in generative art. From there, I quickly became obsessed with The Coding Train and any other online resource I could find to learn more. I never did design my own mouse pad, though! Maybe someday.

To you, what’s the difference between a good and great piece of generative art?

That’s a tough question to answer. I think a truly great piece of generative art looks 100% intentional with every output. Every line, every shape, every color should look like someone intentionally chose it and placed it there for a reason, and every output should be a piece of art you’d be happy with, even if no other outputs existed. A good piece of generative art might have some outputs like this, but I think consistency between outputs shows true mastery.

“Hydrangea & Patchwork #16” by Teaboswell

How did you hear about Tezos and FxHash?

I was somewhat interested in getting into NFTs because I thought Art Blocks projects like Fidenza and Meridian were really cool, but didn’t bother because Ethereum sounded so expensive and risky as a new artist. Like I mentioned earlier, Matt DesLauriers was the first person in the generative art scene that I started following. I remember him mentioning on Twitter that lots of action was going on at fxhash. I had to quadruple check that the gas prices were actually close to zero on Tezos before jumping in. I think that a low barrier of entry is really important and encouraging, and fxhash is a really special community that wants to find new and undiscovered artists. It made it feel much less risky to mint something.

Tell us about your Genesis work “Dissever”.

It was only 7 months ago, but it feels like years! At the time, I was still learning about different generative algorithms. With Dissever, I was learning about Voronoi diagrams, so that’s what the project played with. This was my first real attempt at making a “long-form” generative work, so I tried to have lots of variation with sizes, colors, and shapes. I remember being insanely nervous releasing it, and being completely blown away that it sold out. It was incredibly motivating that people were willing to collect my work for real money; I don’t think I had ever sold art of any kind before.

“Dissever #13” by Teaboswell

“Sketchbook Splash” is a very unique work. What inspired this piece?

I was inspired by Tyler Hobbs’ guide to simulating watercolors with generative art. https://tylerxhobbs.com/essays/2017/a-generative-approach-to-simulating-watercolor-paints I used this technique in my previous project, Diffuse, but wanted to take it a bit further. It had some limitations as to what colors looked best and which colors could be blended together. I made some changes after a lot of experimenting to make the colors more vibrant and allow for many more colors to nicely blend. I was also learning about clipping layers at the time, so I ended up making shapes filled with watercolor, and the sketchy outline really made the shapes pop and look hand drawn.

“Sketchbook Splash #24” by Teaboswell

You are probably most known for your “Hydrangea & Patchwork” series. Can you tell us more about this work?

It actually began as a completely different project I was working on at the time. I was playing with flow fields on a large grid at the time, and I was running into performance issues, so I lowered the number of rows and columns on my grid to something super low, and ended up with something that looked like simple pixel art, which I really liked.

“Hydrangea & Patchwork #423”

How did you know when this work was finished and ready for the site?

I thought it would be fun to do a mini, teaser version of an upcoming project, so I challenged myself to wrap up this mini project in about an hour. I figured a freebie would get it some more attention, so I announced in the fxhash discord that I was releasing a free project with just a few minutes’ warning. I was ready to mint but realized I didn’t have a name. The fuzzy boxes reminded me of patchwork, and the colors were kind of flowery, so I thought of the song “Marigold & Patchwork” by The Appleseed Cast. I liked the purple palette, so I swapped out “Marigold” for “Hydrangea”, picked an edition count to match (the song is 5:49, so I went with 549 editions), and then minted! I definitely did not expect the quick mintout and obsession with the project over the following days. I ended up scrapping the “real” project not much later because I hit a wall. It’s funny how things work out!

Why did you choose to follow it up with Wildflower & Patchwork?

I released H&P shortly before the closing of fxhash before the 1.0 launch, so I figured a fun way to celebrate the reopening would be to have a follow-up project with different shapes ready to go day one. I think it got a little overshadowed by the insane amount of other projects being released, but it was fun to be a little part of fxhash history.

“Wildflower & Patchwork #1” by Teaboswell

“Love” was your collaboration with Tender. What was that experience like and what was the goal of the work?

Working with Adam aka ajberni of Tender was a totally new experience for me. I hadn’t done a collaboration before and wasn’t sure what to expect, especially working with a non-coding artist. He came to me with a very specific idea because he liked my project Fracture, and wanted to do something similar with flowing shapes and colors. His idea was one he tried doing by hand with watercolors, but thought it was better suited for a generative algorithm, so my goal was to basically translate his idea from paper to code while also putting my own flair on it. I learned a lot during this collaboration; slowing down, focusing on tiny details, and being a little more intentional with my design choices, rather than leaving things up to randomness.

“LOVE #69” by Teaboswell

“ASSEMBLING MACHINE” is a gorgeous work and your most recent generative work. Tell us more about it.

Thanks! This project was kind of a culmination of many of my previous projects. The flowing shapes, similar to Fracture, the explosion from a single point like in Burst, the layers building on top of each other like in Dismantle… In a weird way, I feel like this is my first “true” project, because it does what I wanted to do in a lot of those previous projects where I was still learning the basics. I’m really happy with how it turned out. For once, I feel like the final outputs were better than my test ones!

“ASSEMBLING MACHINE #98” by Teaboswell

What do you have planned for the future?

Always more generative projects on fxhash, I’m sure, but I’m also interested in getting into creating physical versions of my art. I’m starting with offering prints with top collectors of ASSEMBLING MACHINE that I’m ordering from a photo lab, but I’m looking into getting my own pro-level printer and starting to offer physical products (for owners of specific pieces, as well as some out-of-band open edition prints). Keep an eye on my Twitter and my website, teaboswell.com!

Is there anyone you want to shoutout?

Shout out to all the amazing artists working every day to push the boundaries of generative art. We’re still so early in this field, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. Shout out to anyone who has collected my work, liked my posts on Twitter, anything; your support is what motivates me to keep creating, and seeing people enjoy my work is incredibly fulfilling. And most importantly, shout out to my wife for always supporting me, giving me great artistic and marketing advice, and pretending to care about my hot fxhash takes.

“Sugar & Splice #4” by Teaboswell

Anything else?

Thanks so much for the interview!

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