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THEREPUTIC PROGRAMMING

An interview with Jan K. Griffioen-Järfalk

Jan K. Griffioen-Järfalk is a Swedish based programming artist residing in Stockholm. Using mathematics in art is a form of therapy for Järfalk who creates work that is calming in both its process and end result. 

"Tell us about you as an artist"

I've been programming for almost twenty years. Others cleanse their mind by reading, doing crosswords or sudoku but I've always been programming. It's a form of relaxation for me. 

My pieces are a reflection of what I've always been doing, but with a different compile target. Instead of compiling to executable software, it ends up being a visual artwork. 

"Your artwork takes a very mathematical approach, using a series of brushes in an algorithm, can you tell us about why you are interested in this approach and what you hope to achieve? "

I'm a creative soul stuck in a body that cant draw a decent line without a ruler! My approach to art making isn't something I've chosen, but it's the approach that allows me to achieve the satisfaction im looking for. 

I'm lousy at drawing, but comparably good at programming and maths so these have become my tools for creating. The output (final result) is almost secondary for me; probably the same as a finished crossword for some people - what I'm trying to achieve is a feeling of calming which comes from the process. That being said, I do like the output and it makes me happy that others do too. 

"In an Instagram post you once said you are at a crossroads of digital and analogue. Can you elaborate on this?"

I've been doing a lot of work with an Evil Mad Scientist Axdraw V3/A3 pen plotter. You could describe a pen plotter as a terrible printer, especially when you like me, arm it with a paintbrush and acrylic paint. 

But it's not a terrible printer. It is a fantastic printer that can do super neat things – like printing with a paintbrush.
When you do that, you get the real world as your noise function. Whatever exact instructions I'm sending my plotter, it will never come out the same.

"Your work holds an element of abstraction. What draws you to create abstract pieces?"

I think abstract is a superior art form. It's demanding. To get something out of it, besides nice colors and patterns, you have to think. 

A great piece of art reveals itself over time. You don't get all of it in one look. You go back and back and back again, and it keeps on giving. It is stationary but changes for you. I merely create a foundation and leave the rest creation process to the observer. 

I find it very interesting what others see in my work.

"Why black and white?"

Two reasons: I tried colour and didn't like it, and I love working with constraints because it makes me more creative. 

"Is digital the future of art? (elaborate on why yes or no)"

Yes, but not in my lifetime. Analog art is tactile; it has a smell and super high resolution. We are at least a couple of John Carmacks away from virtual reality that good. 

"Thank you, Jan."

For more on Jan K. Griffioen-Järfalk, follow HERE.

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