A Computer Blaze of Colors Art Exhibit
Artist Bill Tomlinson


Heritage of America Educational & Cultural Foundation
The Arts Council of Kern: Center for the Arts
J.P. Jennings Gallery
Invite you to
A Computer Blaze of Colors Art Exhibit
Artist Bill Tomlinson
1700 Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, Ca 93301
Exhibit Duration: June 25, 2010 to July 31, 2010

Grand Opening Reception:
Thursday, July 1, 2010, 6:00 PM

Wine & Hors d'ouvres
RSVP: Arts Council 661-324-9000 or
Heritage of America 661-325-5098

Meet the artist...
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russian trampoline
Bill Tomlinson, the creator of this computer art, has been teaching Philosophy for 35 years at California State University, Northridge, and programming for 45 years. His recent experiments with complexity theory and simulations in ethics has tangentially led to questions about the nature of art and to what extent complexity theory and computer simulations could be used to assist in the creation of visual art.

Complexity theory assures us that when a few entities interact each with a specified behavior, even when that behavior is very simple, sometimes the result is chaos but at other times unpredictable structures of amazing complexity emerge.

On the canvas we can take the colored points or pixels as representing the programmed entities, each one of which is given a set of "genes" (or program) that will determine when it changes color and even when it modifies its own program. These genes will tell us which nearby points that entity can affect and which points it can be affected by.  So, we can think of the picture as evolving from generation to generations as pixels interact and negotiate or merge to leave the resulting different colors in their place.   On many of what he calls "color experiments", the starting condition is pure chaos. The rules for each pixel are randomly assigned. With some pictures even the initial colors are chosen randomly. For others a simple pattern of color is the starting pattern often becoming more chaotic as the genes unintentionally work together to find a new balance.

This is the process. There are generations of matings, sometimes ten or 20 thousand. Sometimes there is even a random mutation of color or gene, to provide a real world effect. As a result from time to time the canvas evokes a "wow" experience. That's when he takes a snapshot, preserving the moment when something especially beautiful or amazing happened. But evolution continues, and it could go on indefinitely or it could stabilize as a fixed and final image, maybe itself worthy of capture.

And it continues, but there is much to discover. He too evolves, by learning. When something exciting happens he tries to see the relationship between the nature of the genetic rules and the resulting images. By combining these rules with others of interest or by altering a gene, a new experiment begins.