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PERMUTATIONS is a high energy generative series portraying permanence and determinism through re-arrangement of shapes. An artist’s journey to create a new collection is continuous and challenging; hundreds of hours are poured into testing and iterating through thousands of outputs as they seek to visually illustrate their original vision.
This complex journey towards a final and permanent collection was the inspiration for Permutations, which aims to exemplify the nature of producing such a collection through continuous re-arrangement, distortion and variability of embedded shapes on a canvas.
Each permutation produces an entirely unique and unalterable piece, determined by the events that preceded it as well as a unique seed / transaction hash. Every collector gets to experience this first hand with each piece built on-screen in front of their eyes, helping them get to know their piece intricately and live through that sense of permanence in their own permutation.
The collection was built on top of p5js. Each piece is built systematically one geometric shape at a time, with each subsequent shape determined by its preceding shapes and their boundaries. The underlying cell structure and use of similar shapes helps give each piece a sense of familiarity in a 999 collection, whilst the variability in composition and form gives each piece a unique identity; a single permutation. Each output should elicit a feeling of high energy and complexity whilst portraying a sense of structure and order which pulls all the pieces together.
Curves have been predominantly used over block shapes to give a sense of flow within the structured arrangement. Color use is vibrant and the sub-palettes within intersecting shapes are often high contrast. Color techniques including grouping by proximity have been used to help create sub-structures within each output.
Up to 8 concentric shapes are used to create a sense of depth, structure and complexity individual to each piece. Sets of combinations of depth are randomised, generating some very simple outputs that contrast with the highly complex ones. One of the most eclectic determinants of the output is the grid-arrangement, with over 15 variable grid arrangements that are randomly selected that produce outputs at different levels of granularity, with some pieces housing over 100 individual shapes.
Finally, distortion techniques have been applied to some outputs to displace the shapes in a variety of ways including symmetrical formations, wave-like structures or sudden and sharp bends in the piece. Each collector that mints will hold an immutable Permutation; a re-arrangement of shapes kick-started by their ethereum transaction.
Each canvas is built up by a set of cells, analogous to a blank page in a math exercise book. There are multiple ways in which the grid can be arranged, and this determines the size of each shape. On top of the grid, shapes are algorithmically introduced with the underlying shapes built first until the grid is complete.
A series of methods have been developed and determine how the next shape is drawn on the canvas, with each preceding shape influencing the position of the next and all shapes following a set of predefined rules. Each method produces significant variance in the overall composition.
After the underlying structure is complete, each shape is assigned a depth pseudo-randomly by allocating a set of sub-shapes to it. A set of inner shapes creates structure and then the color methods are overlayed to create depth and complexity. Rules are applied to the canvas to determine the placement of the sub-shapes.
The method of placement helps to create sub-structures within the overall composition, by assigning local minima and maxima at different areas on the canvas. For example, the first piece shows density increasing from left to right through increasing number of sub-structures whereas the second image is more dense down the centre vertical.
Each shape is made up of thousands of individual points which allow interesting translations in the x and y plane to each point, as well as the underlying grid on the canvas. These grid distortions added to the variability and depth in each piece creating architectural curvature in the affected work.
Several types of distortion have made it into the final collection, and include symmetry in the x/y plane, undulating shapes or those with architectural curves.
Palette and texture
Extended from the learnings during the first collection; Surge, was the introduction of color groupings to create density and sub-structures within an individual piece. The same methods have been extended here in Permutations by creating sub-palettes of complementary colors within each palette that appear in close proximity to each other.
Within individual shapes, a gradient has been applied which creates additional depth and as a final step, thousands of black and white semi-transparent dots have been overlayed onto each piece, creating a rustic grainy effect equivalent to painting using a brush on a canvas.