I turned to art after years of software development. I craved the simpler, more primitive act of drawing. But I abandoned hand-drawing in 2021. I set aside this dozen-year pursuit to work exclusively by computer. Completing the circle.
Of my ink drawings, Houston curator Joseph Staley IV wrote in 2019: "John Hovig's abstract work, with all its linear fluidity, takes on the quality of organic, biomorphic forms floating in an undefined space. Notice how the line undulates and twists round and round, how following its pattern mediates a meditative act of vision."
My computer-based generative work builds on these foundations. I do not use artificial intelligence apps. A.I. art is boring and unimaginative, the sterile visual compilations of statisticians.
I prefer to pursue profundity through primitivism. I encode deceptively simple aesthetic rules into custom (hand-crafted?) software, aggregating lines and shapes into complex aesthetic images through aggressive repetition.
Chance plays a central role. It determines the placement of shape and form, yet constrained by the aesthetic vision I laid out in my rules. But it almost entirely selects the colors.
Of my abstract generative work, Phoebe Hoban wrote in 2023: “The images … range from elegant and lacy to more solid and dynamic, but all share the same ephemeral—almost numinous—quality—as if rather than generated by a computer, they were generated by the cosmos.”
I’m like a composer. I orchestrate computer power toward aesthetic goals through written scores. And I’m like a curator. I funnel a profusion of possibilities into manifesting a tightly-knit group of artworks. But I’m still an artist. The artist. Don’t fool yourself. Those drawings are mine. That software is me.
Born 1968, upstate New York. Bachelor's Electrical Engineering, Master's Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence). Full-time artist since 2012, after 12 years as CTO and co-owner of a small internet company. Father of two, lover of opera, classical piano and odd meters.
"John Hovig's abstract work, with all its linear fluidity, takes on the quality of organic, biomorphic forms floating in an undefined space. Notice how the line undulates and twists round and round, how following its pattern mediates a meditative act of vision."
Joseph Staley IV
Curator, Glade Gallery