Sunday, October 08, 2006
posted by farhat at 8:01 PM
"The algorithms are my creative challenge and the emerging images my artist’s emotion.
This is my way of doing generative art.."

- Bogdan Soban


Born on 10th December 1949 in Slovenia, Bogdan gained his first degree in Mechanical Engineering. Whilst preparing for his diploma, he came into contact with a computer and data processing for the first time. This was the turning point in his life, as he migrated over to the world of computing and information science.
Bogdan was always tempted to explore the idea that a computer can be used for more than just data processing. He thought of stimulating human creativity in the area of visual art.
With a project spanning over 15 years, he spent hours on developing programs that used a generative approach to create new and unpredictable works of art. Each piece is created using personalized genetic design software.

He has also spent much time organizing exhibitions, publishing articles and papers with the intent to propogate the idea of generative art to curious people around the world.

Artists Statement

"My art is entirely computer generated and based exclusively on aesthetic ability of mathematics. All my works are results of the autonomous process supported by computer programs developed by myself using Visual Basic."


The main purpose of Bogdan's work is to create visual images; artwork on the screen of the computer, to choose interesting and aesthetic examples and then be able to save or print them. All the works are created using his own genetic designed software. No other applications or existing programs are using to modify his works, nor can they reproduce the artwork he has created..

"Flower" - 2005
"City" - 2005
"Abstraction" - 2005
"Sunset" - 2005

Art Process / Computing Process

As his interest in generative algorithms allowed him to spend 15 years of his life on researching this facet of art, he designs and creates his own software to produce art. At first, a programming language called GWBASIC was used however later he applied Visual Basic instead. He creates his work with a method called 'Generative Art'; where each picture created is a unique product that cannot be repeated in the future. Technically, there are an infinite number of possible outcomes. Any unexpected result of the generative process can comprise a new creation within it.

In order to make such unpredictable pictures, Bogdan uses a random number generator that calculates the seed starting time value of the generative process. It's almost impossible to anticipate where the image will go in regards to its structure and colour.

A key approach Bogdan adopts is that once his program is running, he will not interfere with it. The creation of the image will continue from start to finish with no communication from the artist midway. In this sense, the program is free to create the artwork on its own account. Also after the image is made, he will not modify or elaborate on it in any way. If he dosen't like it, then he leaves it to be lost. And another thing Bogdan does, which I admire, is that he only prints the artwork one time and no more; this guarentees it as a unique item with no copies.

Whilst writing his programs, Bodgan uses mathematical instructions to define the rules in which artwork is executed. Different influences are then made on the results; unpredictable output ensues. Unpredictability is the only variant we know of when wanting to make output from artificial design. Mathematical direction can be given by artists when there is no idea on what the output could be; this gives freedom in chance attractive results. He toys around his output in 2D space, and gives definite values for x and y points in the Cartesian coordinate system.

- Screenshot of the program CREATOR
The interface is easy to follow. You can click on "New Image" to generate a new image obviously, wait 15 to 30 seconds and there you go. If you don’t like it, then click on the same button again and regenerate. Or you can also choose "Repeat The Same Type" which re-runs the same algorithm with new results. to end, there is an "Exit" button and that is it. No user input here, so it is purely all in the hands of the program.

- Screenshot of the program DISCOVERER
Basically, this is like a magnifying glass which allows user input. Open up a blank workspace, and select a magnification level between 1-100… Then you can click "New" and an image will be generated. Then you can click anywhere on that new image, and based on the magnification level you selected, a new image will be generated. Keep doing this several times and you can get a variety.

He has created several other programs, all of which he has used to create and distribute his art. Some examples are COLLAGE, FREEHAND, SPRAYBRUSH, MANDALA and CURVES, which are all provided as freeware from his personal website. The newer versions allow you to save the images too.

Made using program called SPRAYBRUSH

Analysis / Comparison

I've spent much time researching on other artsists who create art using programs they have designed. Many do this, however not in the area of generative art, or don't focus on manipulating mathematical algorithms to create artwork. I'll leave you with some words of Bogdan, as I find them truly inspiring:

"There are many definitions of human creativity but one of them include the ability to take existing objects and combine them in different ways for new proposes, wit other words the creativity is the action of combining previously not combined structures or objects. Creativity is the ability to create novel and useful ideas and solutions to everyday problems and challenges. Creativity is also the origination of new ideas that were previously non-existent. Often great solutions are products of silly ideas. Silly ideas are those that do not seem to follow rules, and are consequently thrown out, but modification of these ideas can result in a different path to the desired objective through unusual connections."
- Exceprt from a paper titled 'Artificial Creativity' by Bogdan Soban


Bogdan Soban's Personal Website
Remix Commons - A Site for New Artists