Abstract Digital Art & Recycling

Today's post demonstrates the concept of recycling, applied to abstract digital art.
Many of my designs have been made by manipulating photographs I've taken with a digital camera. At other times, I begin with a blank canvas in my graphics application, to which I add vector shapes. You can see an example of the latter in the image below, which was the progenitor of all the works shown in this post:

Overlapping ovals in pastel colors

Ovals in Pastel Colors

The image above was never intended to be a finished work. It is merely a starting point. The shapes in the image above were merged into a single raster layer in my graphics application, so that I could manipulate it with various filters. After applying some distorting wave and streaking effects to the original image, I arrived at the the one displayed on this serving tray:

Some artists might stop there, moving on to create something else completely new. I, on the other hand, need to economize since I really don't draw much. I decided to recycle the image above, adding a white overlay with reduced opacity to wash out some of the color. By manipulating it with additional filters, I achieved a result that was subtly marbled, and dominated by pinkish orange and cyan hues. I used this to fill in the cutout silhouette of a rocking horse I had built from vector shapes, as seen in the trinket tray below:



My next effort applied a fractal filter of Sierpinski triangles to the image I had used for the rocking horse cutout above. You can see the result in my "Starlit Butterfly Silhouette" tote bag shown below.  This design also takes the idea of pastel colors against a starry night sky, and flips it, placing the pastels in the background, and giving the starry night sky colors focus via the butterfly silhouette:


I liked this idea of flipping focus and background, but it wasn't the end of this  journey into recycling. Instead of following a straight path forward, I decided to explore some byways.
One diversion involved a return to the marbled, washed out design used for the rocking horse cutout. I used a sunburst effect to produce rays spreading out from the center, followed by manipulations that boosted the colors and increased the contrast. I've titled the result "Cosmic Explosion" and used it as a standalone art piece on medium density fibreboard (MDF), shown below:

Exploring another possibility, I applied similar color boosting and contrast enhancing effects to the background for the "Starlit Butterfly", seen earlier in this post. I pushed the resulting multi-color abstract grid further with filters that give it a slightly rough look, applying the art to a trinket tray, seen below (which I bought for myself to get a feel for both the product and the design - I love it!):



Next I went back to the "Cosmic Explosion" mentioned earlier, to see where experiments on it might lead. I applied a polar coordinates distortion filter to it, followed by a triangle mosaic. Adding a seismic twirl gave me a square version of the half-sphere seen below, the latter being achieved by applying another polar coordinates filter. Blurring the square version of the design gave me the matching background on which the half-sphere rests:

The last (but not necessarily final) work created by this practice of recycling is a "Pastel Gradient Stripes Pattern", which I applied to a set of file folders, as seen below. This last one represents a return to the original image of pastel ovals, which I put through an untold number of manipulations, the last of which I reduced to vertical lines using a streamer filter:


Pastel Gradient Stripes Pattern - File Folders
Pastel Gradient Stripes Pattern - File Folders

That's it for this post. I hope you enjoyed this exploration of recycling digital images to create new works.

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