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Twos by Emily Edelman

Art Blocks Collection: Presents

Project Description: When I was working in graphic design and immersed in typography, I spent a year and a half designing this “2”. A personal obsession, I drew and redrew it hundreds of times until I felt it reached the perfect form in balance, weight, and drama.

This generative series revisits my captivation with this character object, using the algorithm as a tool for continued obsession and exploration. I want people to experience this collection and never see a “2” in the same way again. I also want to remind viewers that exquisiteness can exist in any mundane thing.

My background in graphic design and typography is ingrained in how I think. Regardless of medium, I have always been a designer of iteration, exhaustively trialing possibilities within a set of constraints to uncover the best way, or the most ways. Twos takes a “perfected” form and puts it to a further test. Different outputs situate the form in different contexts, look at it askew, or emphasize isolated parts of it for endless results.

The texture within the collection is inspired by low resolution effects (pixelation) and textures that arise from analog printmaking techniques and pen lines. It blends the hand-drawn nature of my original “2” with the power of obsessive exploration only possible with computer generative iteration. Layers of tiny squares, under and above the characters, are used to mimic the texture of a pen or a stamp. Found in much of my work, these “visible pixels” represent the physical module upon which digital art is created - and by calling back to pixel art, act as a reminder that code is still a craft, and the generated image isn’t far from the artist’s hand.

Beyond the beauty of the form, the number two is a special quantity because it implies possibilities beyond itself. A system containing zero or one elements is inert. Two creates an interaction, a dyad, and implies the possibility of more than two – an expanding system. In computer programming, this is expressed as the "zero, one, infinity" rule. The two represents a potentially endless continuation.

Each feature in the collection represents either the analog or the digital journey of this character. Some compositions render each symbol as linework, reminiscent of its earliest hand drawn form. Others render it as the solid numeral, completed after its long journey of iteration. Some compositions are gridded, others are organic and loose. Some are contained by a frame, others are open and unrestrained.

Color enters a few outputs: the mark of new technological tools like the first colored ink in printing, or the move from black and white to digital screens. The brightest hues used depend on light emittance of the screen and wouldn’t translate exactly when printed in standard inks. But in a further application of constraint, most outputs are neutral in color, keeping the focus on the formal obsession with this small, beautiful character.

Sep 2023
Creator earnings