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What is
Generative Art?

It may be seen as science fiction, but Generative Art is very real and even more powerful. We believe it will surround us very soon and the most important thing, it's easier to understand and practice than you might think.


Generative art is a type of art created using computer algorithms and programming. It's called "generative" because it generates or creates art on its own, without the artist directly controlling every detail. Imagine an artist who creates a set of instructions or rules, like a recipe, and gives them to a computer. The computer then follows these instructions to create unique and original artworks. The instructions can be anything from simple mathematical formulas to complex algorithms that mimic natural processes.

The computer takes these instructions and uses them to make decisions about shapes, colors, patterns, and other artistic elements. It can generate images, animations, music, or even sculptures. The artist may have some control over the initial parameters and settings, but the computer takes those inputs and produces the final artwork.

One of the fascinating things about generative art is that it often produces unexpected and surprising results. Since the computer is making decisions based on algorithms, the artist may not know exactly what the final artwork will look like. It's like collaborating with the machine, where the artist sets the stage and the computer fills in the details.

Generative art can be seen as a fusion of human creativity and the computational power of machines. It opens up new possibilities for artists to explore randomness, complexity, and interactivity. It challenges traditional notions of authorship and pushes the boundaries of what we consider as art and original artworks. It combines the artist's instructions with the computational power of the computer, resulting in surprising and innovative creations.

In generative art, there are different approaches or types that artists can explore. Two common types are long form generative art and short form generative art.

Long Form
Generative Art

Long form generative art refers to artworks that evolve or change over a long period of time. It's like a continuous process or an ongoing creation. The artist may create a set of rules or algorithms that determine how the artwork evolves, and then let it run for hours, days, or even months. The artwork may transform gradually, responding to various inputs or external factors. For example, an artist may create a generative art installation that generates new patterns or visuals every day based on real-time data like weather conditions or social media trends. Long form generative art often captures the concept of time and change, offering viewers a dynamic and evolving experience.

Short Form
Generative Art

Short form generative art focuses on creating individual or static pieces of artwork that are generated quickly. These artworks can be created in a matter of seconds or minutes. The artist defines the rules or algorithms, sets the parameters, and the computer generates the artwork almost instantly. Short form generative art can be used in various contexts, such as digital illustrations, visual effects, or interactive experiences. It allows artists to quickly explore different possibilities and variations, experimenting with patterns, colors, and shapes. It's a way to generate unique and diverse artworks efficiently.

Both long form and short form generative art have their own characteristics and possibilities. Long form art emphasizes the passage of time and continuous transformation, while short form art focuses on immediate creation and quick exploration of artistic ideas. Artists can choose the approach that best suits their artistic vision and the message they want to convey through their generative artworks.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Art created using artificial intelligence (AI) can be considered a form of generative art. AI-generated art involves using machine learning algorithms and neural networks to create original artworks. It combines the computational capabilities of AI with artistic intent to produce visually appealing and thought-provoking creations. In AI-generated art, the artist typically trains a machine learning model on a dataset of existing artworks, photographs, or other visual materials. The model learns patterns, styles, and structures from the training data and then generates new images or artworks based on that learned knowledge. While AI-generated art is a distinct category within generative art, it shares the underlying principle of using algorithms and computational processes to create new and original artworks. It explores the intersection of technology, creativity, and the boundaries of human and machine collaboration.

The Generative Art Museum focuses mainly on long form generative art but we're commited to showcase, promote and spread the word about any kind of art created by with the use of an autonomous system, including AI art.

Long story short

Generative art has a rich and diverse history that spans several decades. It emerged as a form of artistic expression closely tied to advancements in computing technology. Here's a brief overview of the history of generative art:

1960s and 1970s The origins of generative art can be traced back to the 1960s when artists and scientists started exploring the creative potential of computers. Early pioneers like A. Michael Noll and Frieder Nake began experimenting with computer algorithms to generate artistic images and patterns. They focused on mathematical formulas and simple rule-based systems to create visual compositions. In February 1965, Georg Nees made the world's first computer graphics created with a digital computer.

1980s The 1980s witnessed a significant development in generative art with the advent of personal computers and more accessible programming tools. Artists like Harold Cohen and Vera Molnar started utilizing algorithms and computer programs to generate artworks autonomously. Cohen, in particular, created the well-known art-making program called AARON, which generated drawings and paintings using rules and a simulation of artistic decision-making.

1990s The 1990s saw the rise of generative art influenced by chaos theory and fractal geometry. Artists like Roman Verostko and Jean-Pierre Hébert explored the aesthetics of self-generating systems and the intricate beauty of fractal patterns. They developed algorithms that iteratively generated complex and detailed visuals, often resembling natural phenomena.

2000s With the growing accessibility of digital tools and the internet, generative art expanded further. Artists like Casey Reas and Marius Watz began using software platforms like Processing to create interactive and algorithmic artworks. Processing simplified the creation of generative art, enabling artists to create interactive and algorithmic works more easily. This decade also witnessed the rise of generative art in the realm of digital installations and immersive environments, where viewers could engage with dynamic and evolving experiences.

2010s The past decade has seen a proliferation of generative art across various mediums and contexts. Artists are increasingly exploring machine learning techniques, artificial intelligence, and data-driven approaches to create generative artworks. This period has also witnessed the integration of generative art with emerging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and robotics, pushing the boundaries of creative expression.

The irruption of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has had a significant impact on generative art and has allowed the genre to continue evolving, with more and more artists combining traditional artistic practices, computational algorithms, and emerging technologies to create captivating and innovative artworks.

Remember to research the artists and artworks, review the authenticity and provenance of the pieces, and understand any additional requirements or technical considerations related to the responsive nature of the art before making a purchase.

Computer Drawing - Computer Composition with Lines - Georg Ness (1964)
Computer Drawing - Computer Composition with Lines - Georg Ness (1964)
Waveform - Michael A. Noll (Undated)
Waveform - Michael A. Noll (Undated)
Tanz der Elektronen - HW Franke (1962)
Tanz der Elektronen - HW Franke (1962)
Waveform - Michael A. Noll (Undated)
Waveform - Michael A. Noll (Undated)

NFT's Irruption

Without a doubt NFT technology has changed completely how artists, collectors, curators and institutions see and consume generative art::

Digital Ownership NFTs allow for the unique ownership and provenance of digital artworks. Before NFTs, it was challenging to establish ownership and authenticity for digital art because of the ease of replication and distribution. NFTs provide a digital certificate of authenticity, enabling artists to sell and collectors to own unique digital assets, including generative art creations.

Affordability NFTs themselves can sometimes be associated with high prices, especially when it involves popular or established artists. The uniqueness and scarcity of NFTs can lead to significant price tags, as collectors compete for ownership. This pricing dynamic has garnered attention and criticism, as it can limit access to certain artworks for those with limited financial means. However, it's important to note that affordability can also be subjective and depends on individual perspectives and budgets. While some NFTs may be sold at high prices, there are also NFTs available at very affordable ranges, especially from emerging artists or lesser-known creators. Additionally, digital art platforms and marketplaces offer a variety of options, allowing collectors to explore different price points and find artworks that fit their budget.

Scarcity and Rarity NFTs introduce the concept of scarcity and rarity to the digital art world. Each NFT represents a one-of-a-kind artwork or edition, making generative art pieces more valuable and desirable. Artists can create limited editions of their generative artworks, assigning different levels of rarity to specific variations or series.

Artist Royalties NFTs have the potential to provide ongoing royalties to artists. Smart contracts embedded in NFTs can automatically allocate a percentage of the resale value to the original artist. This feature allows artists to benefit financially from the increased value of their generative artworks in the secondary market.

Direct Artist-Collector Relationship NFT marketplaces and platforms provide a direct connection between artists and collectors. Artists can sell their generative art directly to interested collectors, bypassing traditional intermediaries. This direct relationship fosters a more supportive and collaborative environment for artists, allowing them to engage with their audience and build a community around their work.

Programmable Art Generative art and NFTs provide an opportunity for programmable art. With generative art, artists can create algorithms that allow for the ongoing evolution or variation of the artwork. NFTs can act as tokens that grant access to these programmable art experiences, where collectors can witness the continuous generation or transformation of the artwork over time.

Discoverability and Exposure The NFT space has gained significant attention and media coverage, bringing generative art to a broader audience. Artists who specialize in generative art can showcase their unique creations on NFT platforms, allowing them to reach global audiences and potentially find new collectors and opportunities.

As the generative art and NFT space continues to evolve, there may be further exploration and development of models that promote accessibility and affordability for a wider audience. It's important for artists, platforms, and collectors to consider inclusivity and diverse pricing options to ensure that generative art remains accessible to individuals with varying financial means.

How & Where To Buy
Generative Art

Buying generative art involves a slightly different approach compared to traditional art. Here are some steps to consider when purchasing generative art:

Research and Explore Start by researching generative artists whose work resonates with you. Look for artists who specialize in generative art or explore platforms dedicated to showcasing generative artworks. Online resources, social media platforms, and art communities can be helpful in discovering artists and their portfolios.

Artist Websites Visit the websites or online portfolios of generative artists you're interested in. Many artists offer direct sales of their generative artworks through their websites. Browse their available pieces, read about their artistic process, and check for any information regarding purchasing or contact details.

Online Marketplaces Explore online marketplaces that feature generative art. Platforms like SuperRare, KnownOrigin, and Foundation are specifically designed for selling and collecting digital art, including generative art.

NFT Marketplaces Consider exploring NFT marketplaces where generative art is bought and sold using blockchain technology. We recommend generative-art specific platforms like ArtBlocks, fx(hash), Foundation host a wide range of NFTs, including generative art. These marketplaces allow artists to tokenize their artworks as NFTs, providing proof of ownership and authenticity. Some platforms provide a curated selection of artworks, often with a focus on limited editions or unique pieces. NFT requires specific knowledge about cryptocurrency and wallet management, but there are plenty of resources that will help you getting started.

Live Events Keep an eye out for live events that specialize in generative art. Some art galleries and auction houses feature generative artworks in their exhibitions or dedicated sales. Participating in such events can provide access to a curated selection of generative art pieces from established and emerging artists.

Engage with the Community Join online communities, forums, or social media groups dedicated to generative art. Engage with other collectors, artists, and enthusiasts to discover new artists and gain insights into the generative art market. Such communities can offer valuable recommendations and information on purchasing opportunities.