J. Still Interview

“Attempts at Drawing a Cross #5” by J.Still

Who are you?

I am an artist and a teacher.

When did you start making generative art?

I was a physical artist before I was a digital artist. But I started experimenting with creative coding in late 2021. Immediately, I recognized the feeling. The same artistic sensibilities and impulses that guide my physical works translate directly into the creation of my generative works. I know that a lot of generative artists take pride in the code itself (in terms of its innovative aspects or organizational clarity), but I’m honestly more concerned with the visual character of the outputs. I think of my generative works as paintings or drawings that were achieved through coding techniques, rather than thinking about the code as being the work of art. I’m probably in the minority of generative artists with such a philosophy, but that’s just the way I approach the work.

“Two Moons #17” by J.Still

How did you hear about FxHash?

From a dear friend. I never knew it would be such a rabbit hole for me, but I’ve enjoyed every minute.

Tell us about your Genesis work “Grid Meditations”

“Grid Meditations” explores the grid as an abstract, organizational device. The description for the project identifies four specific tenets for the grid: 1.) The grid is the ultimate tool of abstraction. 2.) The grid rejects any imitation of depth. 3.) The grid exposes the true nature of the canvas as a two-dimensional surface. 4.) The grid both imposes order and allows for the legibility of disorder.

“Grid Meditations #33” by J. Still

Your PFP is from your second work, a 10 edition piece called “Attempts at drawing a cross”. Why so few editions and what inspired this work?

This project was an exercise in reduction. I tried to reduce the work down to a simple task: drawing a cross. A linear gesture was created for each edge of the frame (four in total). These linear gestures were then positioned at randomized orientations. It was possible (but highly unlikely) to have all four gestures align in a perfectly orthographic configuration. However, most of the outputs feature subtle variations that hint at the form of a cross, but never actually construct it.

In regard to the edition size, this project was originally going to be much larger (100 editions, I think). However, I ultimately felt like there wasn’t enough variation/diversity in the outputs to justify such a large collection. Instead, I thought a really small edition would highlight the subtle differences between mints, which would reinforce the underlying intentions of the project.

You love to create a realistic feel with your work that looks like it was handmade on paper. What gave you the idea for this style?

This comes from my previous work with physical artforms like drawing, painting, collage, etc. I hope it doesn’t come off as nostalgic. It’s more that I’m visually trained to see texture as an integral component of art. So, the references to gestures or brushstrokes or other physical markings within my work derive from this interest in texture.

“Smudge #19” by J.Still

“Smudge” is dirty, raw, and beautiful. How did this work come to be?

The inspiration for this project came from the unwanted smudges that inevitably occur on my physical drawings. While digital tools allow artists to “undo” these kinds of accidents, I became interested in the idea of featuring these smudge accident in a digital artwork.

Could you tell us more about the inner workings of “Chaos Theory (Painting Machine)”

To put it simply, this project creates a series of digital “brushstrokes” that have randomized colors and behaviors. The limits and constraints of the randomization begin to show though the longer the script runs. Eventually, the brushstrokes build up to create a dynamic composition. As someone who began as a physical artist, I can’t help thinking of the repetitive wrist and arm motions that would recreate these compositional effects.

“Chaos Theory (Painting Machine) #11” by J. Still

Your most recent work “Excavation” is fantastic. How did you know when it was finished and ready to be released?

It’s always hard to know when a piece is finished. More than anything else, I think a piece is finished when I get the feeling that I can’t learn anything else from continuing to revise it. Otherwise, I could go on forever and nothing would ever see the light of day.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to learn more about generative art?

Learn fundamentals. With just one basic concept or command, you can create a meaningful work.

“Excavation #38” by J.Still

What do you have planned for the future?

I’ve just released my newest work, “Grid Return,” which revisits the conceptual territory of my genesis mint, “Grid Meditations.” I also have plans for more works in the Painting Machine series.

Is there anyone you would like to shoutout?

I’d like to shoutout the collectors on FXHASH. This space has collectors and connoisseurs that are far more engaged, informed, and supportive than their counterparts in the physical art market. I hope it stays that way.

Anything else?

I just want to say THANKS to you for taking the time to appreciate my work and formulate these questions. I’m so excited to be part of this community organized around generative art.

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