Pinner Joshua Davis is not your typical artist. With a background in fine art, graphic design, and programming, he marries creative and analytical concepts to produce beautiful patterns. Read on to hear about his process for creating art and why he decided to share his work on Pinterest.
Hi Joshua! First, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Joshua Davis, Born in California, grew up in Colorado, New Yorker since 1992. I run a small Design Studio, Joshua Davis Studios, where we use computers and technology to create work. In the early 90’s I attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to study fine art, by the mid 90’s I switched to Graphic Design, but they late 90’s I started learning how to use computers and programming. This would usher in a major shift in how I perceive the concept of composition creation. A shift that would later get me inducted into the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s 2006 National Design Triennial.
My processes is split into 3 parts.
1. Algorithmic patterns. Using programming, I write code that creates a situation for mapping or moving things on screen. this could be a naturalistic equation like water flowing or wind blowing. This system is artwork agnostic, it is purely an environment in which patterns can be created. Which leads us to…
2. Asset creation, make tons of singular assets arranged into banks of drawings organized by theme. Then imagine taking these banks of assets and throwing them into our programming. What is produced is a “random” composition based on that programmings structure for creating pattern. Which then leads us to…
3. Being the critic. This programming can be run an infinite number of times to create an infinite number of compositions. So as the critic, I have to live with the programming and run the processes thousands of times to choose what compositions are aesthetically pleasing. From these few chosen outputs… parts get cleaned up and use in personal and client work.
There’s no question the processes is difficult. However the programming is capable of producing imagery that would take me a lifetime to reproduce manually… and the amount of compositions are infinite.
What inspired you to share your art on Pinterest?
After 14 years of image making, I had this desire to showcase this journey I’ve been on. So I navigating to my work harddrive… and there are 100’s of folders staring at me. Each folder containing, a theme, art assets, trials, errors, failures and successes. So Pinterest presented a unique opportunity for me to archive my entire body of work, from past to present. Each Pinterest board is the exact name of the folder on my work harddrive. Starting at 001 and currently ending, at the time of this interview, at 244. As my work and Project become more social, it means that as people post additional photos of a project… each board can have new content added to it.
I know the majority of Pinterest users have a very universal way of organizing their boards with content they find all over the net, whether theirs or not. However, for me, Pinterest offers me the unique opportunity to archive my entire body of work… all viewable on one page. How great is that ? a snapshot of your life’s work… it’s pretty humbling.
We love your boards. What are your hopes for the community when they view your work?
Being a snapshot of my digital archive through time. I’d say it helps me more than the community… it lets me see how themes unfolded, how I grew, where I was lazy, where I was obsessed, how I got better, how I explored aesthetics, etc. Where I hope it helps the community is offers the ability for people to grab the images for inspiration for their own journey.
Are there interesting things you’ve learned from publishing your art on Pinterest?
I created a folder on my desktop called pinterest_catalog_image_sets. It then took me 3 months of scrubbing my work harddrive to organize all my work into new folders which would become Pinterest boards. All of this was done before I ever published my first board. After the 3 month prep was done, I knew that it would take me a few days to publish… that this would become the largest single publish of my work I had ever done. People following me said they had to unfollow me until I was done because my constant, steady posting flooded their “what’s new page”. What I found my interest was this process, that something like Pinterest could rally me to finally create and maintain an archive of everything I have ever made.
I also find it very valuable to how the community responds to your work. With “activity” I can see how “likes”, “repins” and “comments” gives the community a voice about what they respond to. This in turn surprises me, finding that people respond to work that maybe I was too critical on myself with. It can be hard for me to judge the value of something as the creator of the content. People will LOVE things I just LIKE, and just LIKE things that I LOVED.
Do you have any cool projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
Right now my biggest focus is my upcoming April 2013 solo show in Toronto Canada, the Forty Thieves, where I’m hand drawing 40 computer generated compositions. I will be constantly adding to this board as each “thief” get’s finished… and will come to a close with photos from the show in April etc.
I can’t thank you enough for giving me a platform to archive and share my work with a great community.