I'm Alan Kaminsky. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering, I spent 17 years in industry doing software development at Bell Laboratories, Harris Corporation, and Xerox. I then spent 25 years teaching computer science as a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I retired from RIT in 2019, wondering about how I would spend my time.
Backing up a bit, in 2016 along with my family I visited Dia Beacon, a museum of contemporary art in Beacon, NY. There I was struck by an exhibit of artworks by Sol LeWitt, an artist I had not encountered before. LeWitt’s works emphasized regular arrays of simple patterns, drawn or painted by people following instructions LeWitt created. I said to myself, “I could make art like that.” But working as a full time faculty member left me no time to pursue the idea, and I put it on the back burner.
After retiring, I remembered that museum visit. Now I had time to pursue creating my own artworks, which I did. You see the result in front of you.
My art draws on three sources of inspiration:
Conceptual art. Writing in Art Forum in 1967, Sol LeWitt defined conceptual art this way: “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”
When I design an artwork, I embody the “planning and decisions” as a computer program whose output is an image file. The “execution” consists merely of running the program and printing the image, truly a “perfunctory affair.” The computer and its program constitute the “machine that makes the art.” Furthermore, by running the program with different parameters, I can create endless variations of the artwork.
Tilings. Like M. C. Escher and Sol LeWitt, I’m fascinated with artworks based on tilings—groupings of regular or irregular non-overlapping shapes that completely cover the plane. Many of my artworks start out as a tiling.
Pop art. Back in the 60s and 70s I admired pop art’s simple designs, bold colors, and heavy outlines, exemplified by the works of artists like Peter Max and Heinz Edelmann, and the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine. I love infusing my art with color.
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