Scott Oppenheim | Generative Art
Scott Oppenheim is a designer/digital artist with a passion for generative art, the combination of coding and fine arts. By mixing randomized algorithms with a vision of an artwork to create in mind, Scott reworks the code as many times as needed to achieve the end result. From bright to subtle, curvy to linear, each artwork requires ample gazing time to discover the intricate details. An expert in his field, Scott has published a tutorial on generative art in Issue 195 of Computer Arts Magazine. He’s also won several awards for web design and advertising work. Having studied classical drawing and color theory in the past, and currently working as senior interactive designer for the branding and interactive agency CHIEF in Washington D.C., Scott propels generative art as both a lead actor and influential artist in the movement.
1. You currently work as a Senior Producer for a branding agency in Washington D.C. Does your personal work influence your work work, and vice versa? What other creative talents do you exercise in the office?
I always believe in doing the best work. Art is about personal expression and allows me to have a creative outlet for the ideas I have in my head. My professional work is about helping others tell their stories. My work is guided by the belief that design is more than the way something looks—it’s the experience it provides.
2. Have you been a creative for as long as you can remember, or was there a sudden, life-changing “Ah-Ha” moment that led you to explore your artistic passions?
I’ve always had a passion for art. I remember an old Crayola drafting set I had as a child and a digital etch-a-sketch. Trying to create frame by frame animations on an etch-a-sketch from the 80’s wasn’t so easy. My mom was very artistic and my parents always encouraged me to play and experiment with different things. These same values guide the work I do today.
3. Generative art is really unique, and more rare than other techniques used in digital art. You must have your computer skills down pat – is this the case?
I’ve had access to a computer my entire life, but I wouldn’t consider myself some kind of computer genius. I was always better at playing with/on a computer than programming one. It wasn’t really until college that I began to learn programming.
4. You have also studied classical drawing and color theory. Are there other types of artworks you create besides generative art that we should know about? ☺
I like to draw and paint.
5. For those who are new to the generative art field, can you walk us through your technique? What software / programs / tools do you use to bring your ideas to life? How does one foresee, or plan out, the desired outcome of generative artworks? (sorry that was two questions☺
First off, I have to give a shout out to Eric Natzke and Joshua Davis, two pioneers of this awesome digital art process. I discovered Natzke’s work while trying to find inspiration for a project at work and then later discovered Josh’s work. Every artist has an affinity for a certain style and I immediately connected with their work. I was lucky enough to attend a couple conferences to see them speak, and they were kind enough to share their process and enough code to get me started. My “toolkit” includes the Adobe Creative Suite, an iMac and a Wacom tablet. I think it’s personal and based on a lot of different factors. For me, it depends on my inspiration and vision. I do not always have a desired outcome; sometimes, I have a general sense and I am able to capture it at the perfect moment. The outcome is not 100% guaranteed and that is part of the beauty of it. Personally, I am drawn to the chaotic nature of generative art and how quickly it allows me to express my ideas, but I have also tried to bring order to my art through the use of grid systems.
6. Over the past few years we’ve learned that our artists’ creative juices flow much easier under certain conditions. Are there any “must haves” in your creation environment? E.g. coffee, U2’s greatest hits, fuzzy socks?
No, I can create anywhere.
7. Balancing work life and time for personal art is often hard. What advice do you give to aspiring artists who hope to excel in their own artistic endeavors, as well as in their professional day-to-days?
You have to have passion for what you do, never give up, believe in yourself, and surround yourself with supportive friends and family.