Intention to Reflection
April 15, 2023

When I began to create WaveShapes in earnest I wanted to actively practice more intention in the creation of my work. While I’m unlikely to discard the practice of experimentation and discovery in my studies, I wanted to envision the work at the outset and work towards creating it to the best of my abilities.

WaveShapes Out of Bounds


Where to start? I felt I needed some kind of guiding light; an idea or emotion I could draw inspiration from. I thought about issues I’m passionate about - such as climate inaction, or the growing wealth inequality - but these conjured projects ideas that I felt required more experience and study before attempting to tackle them. Not finding a suitable topic, I thought… “why not just make something fun?”.

Art doesn’t have to be tackling a serious subject after all, it can be whatever you want it to be! I looked to long form generative projects that had a “fun” element - such as AlgoBeats (Han x Nicolas Daniel), Paper Armada (Kjetil Golid) and Geometry Runners (Rich Lord) - and felt a sense of nostalgia that pulled up memories of playing video games on the NES and watching mesmerizing WinAmp audio visualizers. This feeling lights up my creative / playful soul and so I decided to use nostalgia as my muse.

What followed were a series of studies in which I practiced techniques for using signed distance functions in a ray marching algorithm to draw rows of shapes, how to analyze audio input frequency ranges, and pixelation alongside color banding for that old school graphics vibe. Once an isometric camera projection started rendering out colored shapes that could dance to music, I knew I struck nostalgic gold!


At the time of writing, the project has been technically complete for about a week after being in development for about 6 months, if you count all the studies that lead me to the finished work. And so, while I wait to hit the Mint #0 milestone and ship it off to be collected as part of the Moonbird’s Diamond Exhibit, I find myself checking over test outputs and feeling a new sense of understanding for what I’ve created.

While I used my nostalgic love of video games and visualizations of the past as my intentful inspiration, what I feel I’ve created in this collection is more akin to a direct reflection of my personality.

WaveShapes Out of Bounds

I’ve always favored structure in the way I live and work; I like clean organization of everything that can be itemized, clear communication channels in formal tones, and will spend considerable time crafting conventions to make this all happen. I’m a solo developer, yet I employ studio production levels of hierarchy to my craft. As well, I’d say I have a strong penchant for pattern recognition and this style of thinking yields brainstorming sessions where I envision not the final output, but complex clouds of connecting ideas and complex architectures. I feel the compositions of shapes, largely in tidy rows of repeating patterns, perfectly captures this aspect of myself.

WaveShapes Out of Bounds

On the flip side, for those who know me well enough, I’m fairly light hearted and love to make people laugh with observant jokes, or just downright silliness. I can certainly get into and enjoy discussions of in-depth topics on very serious subjects. But, I like to keep a playful attitude towards life and try my best to avoid becoming the kind of boring adult I thought all people were doomed to become as a child. This is evident in the vibrant and saturated colors, presented with a strong contrast in value as a nod toward the duality of structure and play I bounce between on the daily.

WaveShapes Out of Bounds

Finally, I love music. Both listening to and creating it. While I do listen to a wide variety of genres - electronic, metal, punk, rap, etc. - I’ve been enjoying EDM lately after having purchased some synth gear and producing an EP in a chiptune style for fun. Despite this love, I’m not outwardly expressive about it. I don’t feel the urge to dance, or even move really, to music. But I feel that passionate love for it internally, and I think by making the shapes dance around to strong beats or wiggle to vocals, it’s my own way of expressing that externally. Plus, I’m told by my girlfriend that the little shapes are very cute while dancing, which is an attribute she claims I share with them.

It’s been an interesting experience creating something with clear intent only to later find new meaning in what I’ve created. I’m looking forward to hearing what it may evoke in others once the editions start coming into existence.