When I’m reading about things on the internet, I always like to have some idea of who’s writing what I’m reading, so here’s a few relevant things about me.
My name is Tim Hodkinson, I’m 50-something and living in Toronto, Canada. I’ve always been interested in art but apart from high school art classes I don’t have any real formal training or relevant professional experience, I’m just a hobbyist. I discovered computer art around the year 2000 in the form of the “make seamless” background tile filter in the Gimp, a graphics program. Then fractals in 2002, and since then various other computer programs that create graphics algorithmically.
I forget exactly when, but somewhere around 2004 I started a blog called, “Art from New Places” which was much like this one with reviews of other people’s algorithmic art, mostly fractal, along with commentary on the art form in general. It was just a natural impulse for me to review and comment on what I saw on the internet. I gave it up though, because reviewing any other artwork besides your own was seen with suspicion back then and no one else was doing it. It just felt too awkward for me back then. I started another blog called “Fractal Beanstalk” on Blogger in 2005 which focused solely on my own, mainly fractal, artwork and, once again, commentary on the medium.
In 2006, I began a collaboration with a good friend of mine, Terry Wright, to start up a group blog, “Orbit Trap“. We recruited around 30 contributors who were connected with the fractal art world in some way and who together reflected just about every aspect of it. We thought it would provide unique insights into the artform beyond what we ourselves could provide and for which nothing else existed. Their interest fizzled after about six months mostly because I think expressing your thoughts in writing for most people requires effort and it just wasn’t fun for them like it was for us. And so, after that it was just me and Terry and we continued on as co-editors writing commentary and criticism on fractal art. That continued for about a decade.
My interests in art since then have become both broader as well as more selective and eclectic and generally idiosycratic and don’t fit into as simple a category as fractal art anymore, or really any category. But the old motivation to write about art, the thrill of discovering something great and talking about it, is still there. I like to comment on the “whole thing”, the entire medium and art form and not just my own stuff. We all have our quirks and that’s mine. I like collecting and presenting interesting things from wherever they’re found. When I was much younger it was rocks.
I also like to make it easier for other people, “those who like what I like” to also discover them. It’s hard to find good stuff on the internet because the main stream media (and every other media stream) seems to ignore a lot of art these days and yet it’s more accessible than ever and also much more interesting. I think of myself as one online tourist telling another where the best sightseeing places and restaurants are. It’s a normal part of what goes on in the everyday art world and the everyday world in general, for that matter, and the internet has made art so accessible that discussion and comparison is easy, natural and I think an obvious thing to do. Why more people don’t do this sort of thing has always puzzled me because publishing your own art column online is almost free, requiring little more than the motivation to do so. It’s never been easier in the history of the world to be an internationally published art critic.
My commentary often includes topics relating to art in general and not just the algorithmic niche. It might seem off-topic from an algorithmic art perspective but I think that’s because we’ve come to think of art categories in such alienated and disconnected ways, focusing on the distinctives rather than the universals. But if you think about it, algorithmic art is not about algorithms, it’s about art. Algorithms are merely the medium, the matter from which we form the art. Art is the focus, not algorithms. Or rather, that’s my focus. (And it’s my blog, too!)
More Why and What
The Bible says that men were created in the image of God and I think that’s what art is all about: the divine spark in us, the higher state of being, the best in life. When we’re engaged in “artistry,” either looking at art, making it or thinking about it, that is when we really start to live and not just subsist and survive. To experience art is to live and to live is art. When people are finished with what they have to do to survive, they seek out art, even if it appears to be nothing more than entertainment. That, more than anything else, is probably what this blog is about: the art experience and exploring its mysterious nature.
-Tim Hodkinson, Toronto, Canada, April 4, 2018