In Conversation with Random Combo

by Arctic0013

Arctic: Hello, RC. I'm delighted you could take part in this interview. I noticed you began venturing into generative art in 2021. What initially brought you into contact with generative art?

Random Combo: Hello, I started as a collector and gradually transitioned into making generative art myself. At that time, the variety and quality of generative art were still in their early stages, so while collecting, I considered whether I could create my works and develop my style.

Arctic: Considering your background as a Ph.D. in computational physics, how has your educational background influenced your artistic creation?

Random Combo: Firstly, my coding skills allowed me to start my first project very quickly, enabling me to feel the aesthetic shock brought by generative art from a creator's perspective in a short time. Secondly, my background in physics, which inherently seeks to explore the fundamental principles of things, subtly guided my approach to generative art. Specifically, it means not only creating beautiful works but also deconstructing their aesthetic principles, summarizing patterns, and finding generalizable rules to guide future works. I believe generative art is well-suited for such methodological exploration.

Arctic: Generative art is a unique art category that combines mathematics with art. How do you view this interdisciplinary fusion? And what motivated you to choose to create generative art pieces with a Chinese style?

Random Combo: Summing up what I said earlier, I believe this combination makes it possible to conduct scientific aesthetic research. I've always admired works with a Chinese style, but the lack of systematic exploration methods meant that people could only use descriptive language like "ancient, elegant, and lively" to summarize and categorize works. I hope to make more profound rules summarization from the code and logic levels through my exploration.

Arctic: How do you use mathematical methods to abstract the aesthetic rules of Chinese painting? What is your core artistic concept?

Random Combo: I believe the underlying aesthetic logic is universal; in plain terms, beauty is universal, without a divide between Eastern beauty vs. Western beauty. If the same set of coding tools can achieve two styles merely through parameter changes, does it indicate that their creative starting points are consistent? Are there aesthetic domains and freedoms we haven't explored? I believe the answer is yes, but it requires both creators and collectors to discover them. For example, the falling bamboo leaves in "Zhu" and the flying birds in "Mei" are generated from the same function, with just parameter variations creating two different images. Generalizing this function then opens up many more possibilities.

Arctic: Could you briefly share the creative process behind your previous two projects, "Zhu" and "Mei," and your feelings after they succeeded in the market?

Random Combo: "Zhu" was my first experimental project, purely using abstract patterns for Chinese aesthetics. "Mei" took a step further, attempting to achieve richer imagery in a more complex system. I think the success of these two projects affirmed my theoretical assumptions and built confidence for exploring the next work, which is the background for "Song." As I completed "Mei," I began researching how to further use the language of generative art for Chinese painting.

Arctic: Could you share the creative process of "Song" and exemplify how abstract mathematical algorithms were used to construct specific elements like pine trees?

Random Combo: The imagery in "Song" is more complex and variable, requiring multidimensional adjustments for the imagery's interplay and coordination. Thus, I spent more time constructing the underlying functions, adjusting parameters to make them organically form a painting rather than merely a combination of elements. I contemplated how to represent layered mountains, rocks, and pines growing among them, as harmonizing such a combination while maintaining variability is a significant challenge. Through continuous experimentation, the combination of pines and rocks was narrowed down to three types: pines growing on steep mountain peaks, those by the water's edge, and those in rocky areas. Based on this, adding distant or layered low mountains, hills covered in dense forests, or towering peaks formed the main theme of the painting. The underlying logic for mountains and rocks is consistent, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that minimal changes could achieve entirely different styles of imagery, which greatly facilitated the creative process. The construction of pine branches used recursive functions, similar to "Mei" but more complex and realistic. On this basis, features like bark, tree holes, and vines were gradually added, enriching the pine imagery. Finally, the depiction of pine needles was technically the simplest but pivotal, using basic abstract shapes (rectangles, ellipses) to show the diversity of pines in different regions, seasons, and varieties. Some underlying functions were inspired by works on GitHub, such as, Thanks to these references and help, as well as extensive parameter tuning and polishing, "Song" achieved the unique "mood" of traditional Chinese painting. And this effect was achieved on a generalized generative art system, promising strong extensibility for future exploration into different styles, thus providing some technical preparation for different styles of future works.

Arctic: What do you think are the particularly important aspects of the "Song" project, and what do you think is its value in promoting the development of digital Chinese landscape painting?

Random Combo: The importance of "Song" lies in its construction; exploring ancient paintings through code and generative art is feasible. For my next project, I will focus on deconstructing predecessors' works using these artistic tools, ultimately hoping to achieve my style.

Arctic: How do you view blockchain technology, especially the role of the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain in the valuation and dissemination of generative art works?

Random Combo: Generative art and BTC inscriptions are a very organic combination. I look forward to generative art on the BTC blockchain and hope to see more ambitious artists join.

Arctic: What plans or prospects do you have for the future?

Random Combo: I will continue creating in the field of generative art, hoping to bring increasingly better works to everyone.

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