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The Data Visualization Society recently held their inaugural challenge. My final submission was a switchback style timeline that visualized each member as a watercolor splotch. I made the base graphic in R, and applied stylings to the SVG using manual editing and Inkscape. I got several questions about how I made it, so here’s the story from concept to final design. Concept From first looking at the DVS challenge data, I knew I would make a timeline.

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Pi is an infinite, non-repeating decimal – meaning that every possible number combination exists somewhere in pi. Converted into ASCII text, somewhere in that string of digits is the name of every person you will ever love, the date, time, and manner of your death, and the answers to all the great questions of the universe. Converted into a bitmap, somewhere in that infinite string of digits is a pixel-perfect representation of the first thing you saw on this earth, the last thing you will see before your life leaves you, and all the moments, momentous and mundane, that will occur between those points.

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Something strange this way comes What is a strange attractor? Wikipedia says an attractor is a set of numbers towards which a system tends to evolve. It then says that an attractor is called strange if its set is fractal. If you’re like me, that definition went in one ear and out the other. Here’s an infinitely better definition: Imagine how a planet orbits a star. The planet is attracted to the center of the star by gravity, but its angular momentum flings it into an ellipse, rather than just letting it fall into the star.

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Motivation Welcome to the inaugural post of my 12 months of aRt project! In these posts I’ll walk through my motivations, technical aspects, and design choices for various generative/data art projects I make using R. Read more about my reasons and expectations for this project in my intro post. I’ve always loved the aesthetics of low-poly animal sketches, so I set out to see if I could recreate this in R.

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Announcement! Announcing a new project: 12 Months of aRt! In this post I’ll explain what this project is, why I am doing it, and what I hope to accomplish. I’m currently rewatching 30 Rock, so enjoy this story as told by 30 Rock gifs. What is aRt? The goal of this project is to use R to make generative or data-driven art. Each month I hope to explore a new idea or algorithm–my only requirement is that the primary purpose of the work is creative, not functional 😉.

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CV

My CV is available in HTML form or as a PDF.

Recent Publications

. CAZypedia: Carbohydrate Binding Module Family 63. CAZypedia, 2018.

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