Creating ‘organic’ generative art from robotic algorithms: Emily Xie, NFT Creator

New York’s Emily Xie is exploring the new frontier of digital art by combining her skills and passion for computer science and generative art. 

In a little under two years, since she minted her first NFT in March 2021, she has caught the attention of prolific collectors, such as Punk6529, DC Investor and Bob Loukas, and recently left her software engineering job to pursue life as a full-time artist. 

“I studied art history, took studio art courses, but also studied computational science and engineering. I made all sorts of art growing up, but it was more in a traditional media way. As a software engineer, I was always hoping to combine my love for programming as well as my love for art and creativity,” says Xie. 

Generative Patchwork and Bullseye by Emily XieTyler Hobbs wrote software that generates art worth millions

“There’s a lot of generative artists that have inspired me over the years. Tyler Hobbs is one of those. I’d also say Zach Lieberman has been a huge inspiration,” says Xie. 

“In general, the genre influences for me are collage and textiles. I draw a lot of real-world inspiration from them.” 

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai, 1831William Mapan — An artist who works with code and has been featured on Art Blocks, Bright Moments and at Sotheby’s. 

“William is an incredible artist. He has all these beautiful, hand-drawn-looking works. His series ‘Anticyclone’ is just stunning, and I’ve collected one. I think he really loves drawing inspiration from traditional media as well.” 

Iskra Velitchkova — A computational generative artist who’s also been featured at Sotheby’s. 

“Her work has a very digital quality to it. Whilst digital, it’s also deeply atmospheric. Her style is so consistent. If you see an Iskra Velitchkova piece, you know it’s hers.” 

Sasha Stiles — A metapoet and AI researcher.

“Sasha is doing some amazing work around artificial intelligence and poetry. It’s very cutting edge in my opinion.” 

Generative art process 

Using a combination of traditional sketching, photoshop and writing algorithms, Xie’s process can be quite time-consuming and detailed. 

“Programming is a pretty intensive process, so you want to visualize what you’re trying to program as concretely as possible before doing it. I typically do that in Photoshop and sketch out what happens if I add a line to a given element. I’ll look to see if that makes sense. If it looks good, I will then program it out and see where that takes me,” says Xie. 

“Often, it starts with a pretty extensive mood boarding process where I’ll go and collect a bunch of images that I love that I’m inspired by. That gives me an idea of what I’m interested in at that moment. Sometimes, I can’t articulate or vocalize that myself; it’s a very subconscious thing.” 

Off Script #62 by Emily 


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