Travess Smalley, “Book 45”

RRose Editions 2016

150 numbered copies
Printed via


Travess Smalley creates self-published books of his different projects and digital images. These books function both as an archive and an active tool in his practice. « Book 45 » is the first published and distributed work from the series which currently contains 63 volumes.

« Book 45 » focuses on the artist’s dialogue with the computer in the image making process. How much of a creative practice can be broken down into systems ? Can those systems then be defined ? What choices does a creator knowingly make and what ones are subconscious ? The drawings in this volume were generated using AppleScript, a programming language used to give applications repetitive tasks. Smalley writes the code so that the Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop applications are instructed to create a drawing from different variables, such as color, line thickness, transparency, etc. The artist is deconstructing the elements of a drawing into a series of choices. As the script generates drawings, Smalley goes back into the code and tinkers with the script commands, the variables and sequence, changing the type of image the script generates. What started as an impulse to teach the computer to draw is instead about the artist learning though scripted language and chance the type of drawing and images that interest him. “I’m programming a computer to teach me how to draw, or at least show me what I’m looking for when attempting to create new images.” In this project the artist’s goal is not to render one final articulated image or script, but to develop a new form of drawing that is ever-changing and expansive.