Computers did not always fit in our pockets. Grid-20 was inspired by old computers, especially creative renderings of them, like something you would find in an old Sci-Fi movie or classic Star Trek episode.
The three-dimensional trapezoid with the small screen/monitor on top gives away the computer’s retro status. How do we know this is an old computer? The answer is simple: the size ratio between hardware and screen has been decreasing ever since computers were invented. In other words, screens have been getting bigger, while hardware has been shrinking. A more recent example of this is the iPad—while it hasn’t changed in screen size, its thickness (hardware size) has been shrinking with ever new release.
The imaginary computer depicted in this grid is obviously old because the monitor (top part) is only a fraction of the size of the hardware (bottom part). I was surprised to find a model on http://www.old-computers.com/ that actually looks like Grid-20… and it’s made by Commodore!
Commodore made the Commodore 64 in the 80’s, which became the best-selling computer in history. But most importantly, it implemented a synthesizer chip, SID, which is now extremely sought-after and popular in electronic music—I will definitely be covering more on the SID on my blog so follow me on twitter.
I created gridz sometime around November 8, 2013, which is Hermann Rorschach's birthday. Rorschach was a psychologist that developed the famous "inkblots test" as a psychoanalysis method. The idea of something so seemingly-simple as an inkblot provoking such deep-rooted thoughts to surface fascinated me.
Another concept behind gridz is Piet Mondrian’s style of abstraction (i.e. Broadway Boogie-Woogie). Mondrian abstracted or “simplified” his compositions to the extent of reducing elements to vertical and horizontal lines and primary colors. Similarly, gridz are highly abstracted and limited which makes creating them a straight-forward and relatively simple process (like inkblots!). Ironically, this abstraction and simplicity are what allow gridz to serve as windows to deeper and more complex ideas. In other words, gridz speak directly and clearly, with minimal interference so that the minds of both creators and viewers can take the spotlight.
Gridz share many similarities with mandalas: spiritual and ritual symbols used in Hinduism and Buddhism for meditation and trance induction. Mandalas are generally square-shaped and use symmetry, repetition, radial balance, and many other elements that are also common in gridz. These stylistic elements in combination with a variety of shapes can make gridz highly meditative, taking both the creator and viewer on a journey of self-discovery through association. This process of meditation and discovery is very personal and can differ greatly between viewer and creator.
Other styles of art using similar elements to gridz are:
Regarding the use of descriptive/creative gridz titles: Initially, before completing the 30 Gridz Series, I had envisioned eliminating the use of creative/descriptive names for gridz and adding this restriction to the list of characteristics listed above. The intention behind this restriciton was to extend the minimalist nature of gridz and prevent any additional influence that the title may cause on the observer. For instance, if I called a grid "Bird", the viewer would immediatly think of a bird before even experiencing the piece. Instead, for the 30 Gridz Series I used a sequence of title names in the follwoing format: "Grid-XX". After completing the 30 Gridz Series and experimentally tagging them with descriptive names, I noticed the pieces were instantly more popular--people liked being guided by the title. I decided to make the use of suggestive titles optional, but in its purest form girdz will have non-descriptive titles.