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Art breeding

living organisms change over generations, bringing with them attributes of their parents, but developing additional attributes in new (and sometimes unprecedented) ways.

to bring a similar type of evolutionary growth to art, i’m breeding art pieces. this experiment started in march of 2018 and has no planned end date.

here’s how art breeding works:

1. i select two parent pieces

i’ll choose two original art pieces i’ve created for a round of art breeding. they might be in a similar style, medium, or color.


2. i shred the two parents

via some method or other, i’ll render the parent art pieces into a pile of art fragments.


3. i combine their pieces

i’ll take all the resulting pieces and scramble them. this leaves a small collection of material to work with to breed new art. this will include the majority of the original drawings (though some bits will be lost in the process).


4. i reassemble them into new art

with all the art fragments, i’ll assemble two or more entirely new child pieces. each of these art pieces will contain roughly the same amount of fragments from the originals, and each will include a random mixture from the parent pieces.


all the breeding projects so far

here’s where you can take a look at all the families that have procreated since the experiment began.

anonymous blue family

i selected two art pieces created in my 2012 series, anonymous portraits. these became the first parents in the entire experiment.


jagged somewhere family

two abstract watercolor and ink drawings, from somewhere, made in 2011, and jagged teeth, made in 2010, join up and reproduce.

the silent way family

this family includes the first set of triplets in the experiment, born from two graphite drawings made in 2009, another one silenced, and the way down.

the broken cords family

two larger ink and marker drawings get disassembled into around 600 hexagons and turned into four child pieces.

below my house family

this family features a set of mixed media drawings that yield jagged shapes that strangely look more cohesive than they did before they were cut up.

mercury bell family

in the mercury bell family, a new variation is introduced: a colored substrate as opposed to the exclusive black or white up until this one.

glossary of art breeding terms

to assemble one or more child art pieces from the combined parts of two parent art pieces.

an art piece that has been assembled from the combined parts of two parent art pieces.

a set of art pieces including an origin set of parents and the child pieces they yielded. families may span multiple generations.

first generation:
the wave of art pieces that emerges from parents that have never been previously bred.

an art piece that has been selected to be paired with another art piece to breed offspring.

second generation:
the wave of art pieces that emerges from parents that have been bred once previously.