Proposal 0

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment

Here is what I call Proposal 0 — the initial proposal — that I drafted for inclusion in my application for the Fine Art Digital program. I had a day or less to get my application in, so this was written at speed, with much coffee.


My specific area is hybridity: the blending of different worlds and exploring the anxiety and/or harmony that can be produced: the ground vs. the figure; execution in digital vs. analog medium; abstract hard-edged geometric chromatic color fields vs. multi-colored textured grounds.

At present the ground in my work is executed in acrylic on canvas, but I want to explore alternatives such as bespoke hand-spun yarn (itself being composed of the combination synthetic and natural materials, e.g. hemp and steel wire). A further path of exploration is to use an x-y-z plotter to digitally ‘paint’ the ground using a traditional brush and acrylic. The critical question being can something be an exact replica if, although controlled digitally and hence repeatable exactly, it is made using an analog medium where there is the potential randomness to occur and so negation of the repeatability factor inherent with digital control and reproduction.

The figure is a chromatic color field generated from Bézier curves that are programmatically manipulated. The choice of Bézier curves comes from my experience of type design. The more in manipulate lines and curves in the service of both functional and aesthetic form the more I appreciate their abstract beauty. I see their versatility in what they represent historically as well as how they can be blended with other fine art forms.

I want to explore additional automata to generate these. Again, there is the question of what happens when these perfect digital forms are realized using digital or analog methods. If they are ‘cut’ using a CNC each is perfect. However, what if they are ‘painted’ using brush on an x-y-z plotter thereby introducing an analog element. Is each an original or simply an edition?

An additional area for exploration is to play with the configuration of the figure and ground components to blur the line between what is the figure and what is the ground.


The main method will be the execution of several pieces of work. To execute these there may need to be development of programmatic automata, potentially writing bespoke drivers for an x-y-z plotter to control a brush; the creation of bespoke yarn.


To undertake the proposed methods I already have in place the initial resources that are applicable.

To pursue bespoke mixed-material yarn I have initiated collaboration with a traditional yarn-spinner (and although there is a risk factor regarding the time to turn around bespoke materials this could be mitigated by raiding existing stock). To pursue painting using a brush controlled by an x-y-z plotter I already have a small x-y-z plotter. It comes with existing drivers, and I would either need to convert my designs into a format these can use, or develop a direct driver itself. A risk factor with this is that the plotter is small (approximately A4) and perhaps the works need to be physically substantial; the construction of a larger one is something that I would need assistance with.

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