Student Spotlight: Senior Josiah Brown uses programming knowledge to make art

The fifth portrait titled "Kobe" in a series of eight portraits designed to honor Black history. Art courtesy of EclipseGenerativeArt

By Avery Owens | Staff Writer

One Baylor student uses computer coding in a way that goes beyond programming apps and designing websites. He said he uses coding to create unique pieces of art.

Fort Worth senior Josiah Brown started his new business, Eclipse Generative Art, over Christmas break. Brown said he has always been a creative person but his new business allows him to use his creativity in a new way.

“What I’m doing is called creative coding or generative art,” Brown said. “I got into it because I have always really enjoyed art. I always get frustrated with myself because I can never reproduce what’s in my head with my hands because I’m not precise enough.”

The solution? Coding. Brown said he works with a computer to create what is essentially a canvas on the screen that controls a robot arm that draws the work on gallery-grade paper.

“I can control lines, I can draw circles, squares, just really minimal pieces like that,” Brown said. “Then I build them up and combine them to create all sorts of things.”

Brown uses a coding language called Processing. Using this language, he has created a variety of artworks. From portraits to abstract designs, Brown said some ideas are original and some he creates based on the inspiration he gathers from other artists.

“I usually think about it and sketch out ideas,” Brown said. “Then, I will take it to the computer and then write code.”

Brown said he came up with this idea for this method of art independently. After doing research, he discovered that other people were using coding in similar ways.

“My thought was that I didn’t see anyone else do something similar but I knew it had to be possible. I knew people use code all the time to create visual things on websites. I actually was going to start from scratch. Then, I did some research and found out there was already a lot of stuff online that people were using for that,” Brown said.

After Brown codes his art on his computer, he uses a machine called an AxiDraw to physically draw out the art. What Brown likes about this process is that due to its nature, each piece of art is completely unique.

“Generative art is semi-random, so I never know exactly what the piece is going to produce. In some cases, I do, but I try to stay away from that,” Brown said.

Fort Worth senior Jordan Guild, Brown’s roommate, said Brown is very creative and driven. He can attest to Brown’s work ethic because they grew up together.

“He’s one of those people that if he decides to do something, he will figure out a way,” Guild said. “He just decided to go with art and I’m sure it’s going to take off.”

Brown’s art can be purchased online from his Etsy shop. As Brown prepares to move to Southeast Asia in a few months to do volunteer work, he said he plans on continuing to create art while he is overseas.

“I just love to make stuff, whatever that is. I also really do enjoy writing software,” Brown said. As long as I can keep writing code, I will be pretty happy.”