Generative art finds its prodigy: an interview with Manolo Gamboa Naon
Manolo's work feels like it is the result of the entire contents of twentieth-century art and design being put into a blender. Once chopped down into its most essential geometry, Manolo then lovingly pieces it back together with algorithms and code to produce art that is simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic. His work serves as a welcome (and needed) bridge into digital art and an antidote for those who see the genre as cold, mechanical, and discontinuous with the history of art.
We couldn't be more excited to share our interview with Manolo, his first to be published in English. But before we dive in, let's have some fun and deconstruct a few examples of his work. For me, seeing his work side by side with the masters of twentieth-century art highlights just how well it holds its own.
I see Wassily Kandisnky as an obvious artistic influence on Manolo. The two share a masterful use of color and composition and an interest in exploring spiritual and psychological effects of color and geometry. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Manolo's series of works titled bbccclll, which have all the rhythm and beauty of Kandinsky's early-1920s lyrical abstractions. Kandinsky said of abstract painting that it is "the most difficult" of all the arts, noting: "It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for color, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential."
Manolo's visual poetry checks all of these boxes and does it through code and pixels alone. His poetry is most evident in the range of styles and emotions he can elicit from the most basic elements of geometry. For example, let's compare Manolo's Kandinsky-esque bbccclll with a work that feels closer to Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Manolo's CUDA. We can quickly see how Manolo triggers a completely different range of emotions by shifting the color and placement of just two basic elements, the circle and the triangle.