by Shraddha NairJul 02, 2020
Generative art as a creative mode is still taking shape, and it would seem, will never stop doing so. This interesting paradigm arises from the fundamental nature of the craft itself, i.e. insofar as it collectivises various techniques that constantly keep in step with the relentless evolution of technology. I have encountered few artists, in recent memory, whose creative journey symbolises this perpetual state of evolution more perfectly than Eduard Krasilnikov, who I first came across on Instagram as ed.creativecoder. Krasilnikov is based in Kazan, Russia, and was kind enough to connect with me for an interview regarding his work.
I opened the interview by asking Krasilnikov about his background. He wrote back telling me where he is from, and that he works in the Information Technology space. However, it seems he has always held a keen interest in artistry, and during the quarantine, decided to counter the general torpor of our times by delving deep into creative coding. He applied himself to a range of software; in his own words, “I tried different tools and found a perfect one for my needs. I am in the process of continuously learning TouchDesigner software now. Also, I often use Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Processing, and Blender in my work. I always try to make my creations in real-time, at least 25 frames per second. TouchDesigner engine helps a lot but sometimes I code in GLSL to make it work faster.”
Within his wide and developing repertoire, TouchDesigner is perhaps the software that stands front and centre in Krasilnikov’s work. It is a visual programming language developed in Toronto by the company Derivative, and perfectly embodies the evolutionary aspect of generative art mentioned earlier: it allows for the generation of complex, evolving multimedia content that may be set to react to audio cues; something Krasilnikov repeatedly utilises to create sublime effect.
Krasilnikov’s engagement with the wider digital realm reveals that this is something he uses to propel himself further. He says, “In the beginning, I realised that I would need long-term motivation to keep learning. So, I found a source of dopamine in posting my creations on Instagram. It required some discipline to make it a habit but I think it actually worked out well. I learn a new thing, develop a new idea, and post it every three days. Some artists do it every single day but I am afraid of burning out. I would rather spend a night on my project and get away from it for a couple of days, spending time with my little son instead. Besides, I have a full-time job, so I have to work on my creative coding skills only after dark." This paradigm centred around balancing artistic endeavour with other, more economically stable pursuits, is something many emerging practitioners will find relatable. However, if nothing else good may be said about the present pandemic, it may be considered to have left many with precious time on their hands; time, that some such as Krasilnikov have been using to further their creative skills.
Krasilnikov found other creatives as his artistic influences. He was initially influenced by the work of creative coder Vincent Houze, who has undertaken many design and digital direction projects. However, as Krasilnikov adds, since then, he has found many brilliant artists through Instagram and YouTube as well, and “the hobby is slowly becoming a profession for him”.
I was interested to learn more about this professional development for Eduard Krasilnikov, and wrapped up our interview by asking him to elaborate on this. In his own words, “I have made a couple of small commercial projects not worth mentioning. Now I am making a real-time generative installation that will be displayed on a giant Ferris wheel in a Russian city in the Far East."
Eduard Krasilnikov’s developing journey is quite inspiring: As the world has retreated inwards in order to escape a virus that we do not fully understand, he has been hard at work, and as the genre of creativity he engages with continues to evolve, so too does he, with regards to his control over it as well as in his vision for where it might take him.