Computer Art and Artist Quotes

As a digital artist, I find the words and ideas of others about computer art, or digital art as it is now more widely known, particularly fascinating. I frequently turn to my fellow practioners of computer art for inspiration and guidance. The quotations are grouped by category and sorted by author.

Quotations on the Intellectual Aspects

Rudolf Carnap
It is indeed a surprising and fortunate fact that nature can be expressed by relatively low-order mathematical functions.
Buckminster Fuller
When I am working on a problem, I never thing about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
Karen Guzak
In my mind, the creative aspects of science and art involve many of the same 'how, why, and what' questions. Both disciplines deal with theories, set up problems, experiment with possibilities and help us understand the world we live in.
Sol LeWitt
In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work . . . all planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes the machine that makes the art. (Note: in this quote, substitute computer for conceptual.)
Susan Sontag
Art is, now, mainly a form of thinking.

Quotations on the Theoretical Aspects

Paul Brown in Art of the Digital Age
My works are based in a field of computational science called cellular automata or CAs. These are simple systems that can propagate themselves over time and belong to the discipline known as artificial life or A-Life... Rather than being constructed or designed, these works 'evolve.' I look forward to a future where computational processes like the ones that I build will themselves make artworks without the need for human intervention.
Steve Danzig
Within the digital creative matrix is a human consciousness that must utilize the traditional processes of understanding line, color theory and subject matter - its linear function is the same by definition as traditional processes and must be judged and valued accordingly.
Philip Galanter
Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist creates a process, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is then set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art.
Jean-Pierre H├ębert
The principle behind my work has always been pretty simple, It consists of putting together a process that creates instructions for a tool. It's all computer-driven motion of a tool on a surface.
Donald E. Knuth
The process of preparing programs for a digital computer is especially attractive, not only because it can be economically and scientifically rewarding, but also because it can be an aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or music.
Ben Laposky, 1975
My work in computer art is a form of oscillography, the results of which I have called 'Oscillons' or 'Electronic Abstractions.' These are composed of combinations of basic electronic wave forms as displayed on a cathode ray oscilloscope and photographed. Color compositions are achieved by means of special filter arrangements... The relationship of the oscillons to computer art is that the basic waveforms are analogue curves, of the type used in analogue computer systems. The oscillons have been recognized as being the first major development in this field as abstract art creations, and the first to be widely exhibited and published in America and abroad.
Manfred Mohr in Art of the Digital Age
I write computer algorithms, i.e. rules that calculate and then generate a work that could not be realized in any other way. It is not necessarily the system or the logic I want to present in my work, but the visual invention that results from it. My artistic goal is reached when a finished work can visually dissociate itself from its logical content and convincingly stand as an independent abstract entity.

Quotations on the Impact and Place of Computer Art

Bill Goldston, Roundtable at the Brooklyn Museum of Art
Artists never really leave anything alone. If you give them a tool its going to get used, and that tool has to be on a certain level before it's really acceptable... So technology recently has given us the possibility to do things at the sort of speed at which the artist can think.
Gene Hirsch
We are entering the Age of Integration! ...The digital artist is the vehicle to that kind of cultural change. We are the first generation of this new breed and we will most surely be remembered...for we bring a quake of expression and technique that makes the art world very uncomfortable and that is as it should be.
J.D. Jarvis
Digital is not here to put an end to anything. Rather it is here to expand all things, to combine and to make more things attainable. For the artist, it is the edgiest work of all; the biggest, most exciting challenge in a long history of the synthesis between technology and hand and mind and heart.
Ben Laposky, 1969
Since the technology of electronics has become such an important part of modern life, it is inevitable that it be employed in the creation of art.
Yoko Ono on John Lennon
He was always jumping on the newest things and new media. He would be creating art on computers now. That's where he'd go.
Mark Pauline, Survival Research Laboratories (1987)
Today, the main option people have for expressing themselves powerfully is through machines.
David Stout
Machines have the power to become the ultimate interactive art-making tool. Computers are becoming postmodern blenders bringing together images, sound, and interactive, nonlinear space.

For more quotes, see:

Fine Art QuotesA Collection of fine art quotations
Space & Astro Art QuotesQuotations about space art and astronomical art