A Close Encounter with Samarth Gulati and His Creative Coding
The artist says he’s happy to collaborate to build tools that make technologies more accessible to a wider audience
Working on low-level APIs which offer basic shapes, Samarth’s art mostly explores geometric forms or physics simulations. In terms of inspiration, he said that he has always wanted to figure out ways to do storytelling with those forms, something akin to this classic piece from psychology, or this motion design piece from Apple. In the meantime, he currently finds fulfillment in democratizing creation tools — his utmost motivation in building tools like Hydra Blockly, Face Texture Template, and Gibber Roll.
A man of few words, I have gotten to know Samarth more through his digital art which he gladly shared with CODAME.
The “Cold Sphere” is one of Samarth’s pieces in his plotter series. At first glance, “Cold Sphere” is a calming motion design in which you follow black lines that are created from a random point to another. As more and more lines get created all over the white background, you can start to notice how the one-dimensional lines actually make an illusion of a two-dimensional circle. This illusion is what he wanted to show through this video. More so, he aimed to present how the viewer is provided with a perception of artwork being a sphere when placed in a certain way with specific lengths.
Aside from being an animated twist to the classic illusion, his “Flow Field Illusion” is a conversion of an image without any illusion effect onto one with such. Designing reddish circles with white and black outlines that seem to move on a green surface with gradient, he broke the classic illusion (which tricked people into perceiving that the circles are moving in a wave-like manner) by randomly rotating the circles.
Inspired by the Apple Watch’s “Breathe” app, “Bloom” presents a pale purple flower that pulsates as the user breathes in and out. Starting from a few petals, the flower grows into a bigger form that then rotates for a few seconds before coming back to its original small form. The movement lasts for the whole duration of inhaling and exhaling so, audiences like me can follow proper breathing. When followed for a bit longer, one can feel a calming feeling surge within the skin, almost like in a meditation session. “Bloom” is part of a meditating art series in which each one has different animation timing and different petal shapes.
Shapes, movement, representations, and illusions are what consist of Samarth’s art. As if wanting to always surprise his audience, Samarth is successful in generating art that is engaging and puzzling. On my own, I was left critically analyzing his visuals just as though what I was seeing are numbers — but they’re not. This contradictory experience has excited me and made my head hurt in a good way. Discover him in a series of questions and answers below:
What is your definition of art + tech?
Art is about using tools (paints or pixels) to express one’s thoughts and emotions in a medium. If the tool used (pixels) is novel for the medium (visual art), it becomes art + tech.
What is your process or techniques for creating your work?
Being a generative artist, most of it is about chance interactions. Practicing a lot through dailies. Reflect on what worked and what didn’t and extracting patterns out of it.
How has your practice changed over time?
I had started working in HTML canvas, which has primarily been 2D. Then when I got a plotter, I started exploring vectors. I also did some generative artwork in 3D as well as using JSCAD for 3D printing. More recently, I have been exploring WebGL and a bit of WebAssembly and Rust. It has been a great experience trying all the web APIs for graphics and seeing what each has to offer, all their capabilities and limitations.
What got you interested in CODAME?
I really appreciate the “community first” approach that CODAME has taken in its workshops: encouraging people to co-create and using tech to bring people together when most of the internet has become divisive.
What is your dream project?
Something akin to what DynamicLand is doing: connecting direct manipulation in the physical world to digital creations.
What is next for you as an artist?
Shaders, still trying to wrap my head around all the amazing things that they can achieve. Leveraging tools like Web Assembly plus Rust plus WebGPU as well — to bring more functionality to devices at the click of a URL.
You can find more about Samarth’s art and other links on the CODAME Featured Artist
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Originally published at https://codame.com by Sam Domingo on October 13, 2020.