To view the live script, check out the Live Script.


I was riding on a train the other day.

I was traveling to a city I had not been in for a long time, to visit friends I had not seen for longer.

As I was shooting across the land I looked around at the people traveling alongside me.

Families, groups of friends, businesspeople, young and old folks, strangers placed together by the seating algorithm...

I started thinking about their connections, how they knew each other, who they were traveling to visit. Were they going away for a weekend or were they traveling back home?

These thoughts occupied my mind for a while until I returned to my book. Eventually, the train arrived at the destination.

I looked out the window and saw the intricate mesh of railways that makes up the final stretch to the station.

In this moment I was awash with a sudden realization of understanding how it's all connected.

Friends, families, strangers, colleagues, lovers, employees, adventurers all moving together to this one location, this one node in a vast network of connections.

Out of this realization, the idea for this series was born.


One way of seeing things

Nära (close or near in Swedish) is a celebration of friendships and relationships throughout our lives. How some of them are small, fleeting and ephemeral while a select few become lifelong bonds. The work examines the intricate graphs that are formed by these connections. Graphs are all around us and have existed for as long as we have been human. From early settlements of hunter-gatherers and nomadic tribes to the internet of today. It's all graphs.

Nära allows the viewer to explore and experience these graphs as a metaphor for the organic, organised chaos that is life. Shapes connect from one node in a graph to the next, sometimes spilling over, doubling down and creating layers of intricacy. Imperfection is embraced and Nära exposes the chaotic and unpredictable elements of life.

The artistic vision of Nära is to highlight and expose graphs in a tactile manner that allows the viewer to see the whole graph, but also engage with the details and texture. In doing this, Nära attempts to bring a novel contribution by pushing the boundaries of graph representation and introducing an emotional dimension to this oftentimes rigid and scientific discipline. By treating graphs as a metaphor for relationships in life, they become an integral part of the concept and an important artistic tool.

Nära takes inspiration from the De Stijl movement in reducing the world into a deliberate expression in its smallest form and builds upon the use of shapes imbued with meaning in the works of Hilma af Klint. These ideas are expanded on by accepting that what is deliberate must also relinquish some control through the pseudo-randomness of generative art. This invites reflection on the balance of control and chance in our lives.

Through Nära, you are invited to reflect on the connections in your own life and on the significance of the relationships that define us as human beings.


Behind the scenes


By laying out points on the canvas and applying various probabilistic methods to connect pairs of nodes the algorithm builds a network of connections that acts as a fingerprint of the artwork.

Spanning the room

From the connections of the network the algorithm grows shapes full of color (perhaps) to fill up the canvas of consciousness with the resulting interactions between nodes.

Overlap and imperfection

Within the space of digital art, perfection is obtainable in a way that really isn't when moving with a brush and paint. Pixels display exactly the color they should and follow a rigid set of rules. Within this series, the bounds of perfection are loosened by allowing interactions to overlap, to interfere and to expand outside their intended shape. Just as some friends have a way of becoming a larger part of our lives.


Variation in scale, network creation, and rendering style further adds to the depth and intrigue of this series. Each piece is unique, just like the friendships and connections we form in our own lives.
The core of the series lies in connections and piecing together neighborhoods of nodes. I attempt to reimagine what a graph means and ask the viewer to imagine yourself as a single node in the entire network in order to contemplate who you are and that you do matter in the grand scheme of things.



Coloring Strategy

Within this algorithm, there exist various modes that can be employed to create unique and evocative visual pieces. Each mode offers its own perspective on the art of color selection and draws upon different elements to create its effects.

  • One such mode is Size, which selects colors based on the size of the shape being drawn. The careful curation of palettes ensures a clear and contrasting structure emerges from the interplay of colors and shapes.

  • Another mode, Shift, takes into account the viewpoint of the screen, selecting colors in a waveform that cuts across the rendered shapes, breaking the illusion and offering a unique perspective on the piece.

  • Distance, on the other hand, highlights the underlying topology of the graph by choosing colors based on the distance field, creating an otherworldly and mesmerizing effect.

  • Finally, Shape Type is the most unpredictable of the modes, focusing on the individual shapes themselves and often resulting in pieces that feature only one or two colors. These calm and unique results offer a glimpse into the power of color to evoke emotion and create meaning.


Occasionally, we must view the world from a new angle, for it is not always as it seems. In Nära, this is especially true when it comes to visualizing the world around us.
One perspective available is a flat view that accentuates the connections between elements. Conversely, a tilt can be employed to create more motion and dynamism in the final product, using either one- or two-point perspective.
Adding to this, there are two modes that introduce even more movement, but may also risk shattering the illusion of depth. These are known as scatter and terraced, and they offer a unique perspective on the world that is at once captivating and disorienting. Through these different modes and perspectives, Nära opens up new worlds of creativity and inspiration for those who dare to explore them.


How are the nodes in the network distributed? That is the question answered by this feature. The most common one being splatter which emulates growth of local groups by placing points and splattering subsequent points around the initial. The results are often dense and full of life and tend to be the ones where relaxing your eyes and staring into the deep can evoke the deepest feelings of connectedness.
Other traits here are fluid, chebyshev, resonance, euclid, line and manhattan, referring to the distance fields used to distribute points.


Border, Edge Treatment, Protrusions

These traits explain whether or not the piece has an internal border, if detected edges are brightened or darkened and if shapes have protrusions emphasizing the grid.

Graph creation

Another critical feature of Nära is the graph creation mode, which brings the distributed points together to form a cohesive whole. This is the most technical aspect of the process and arguably the most visually important one.
The graph creation algorithms fall into three categories: K-Nearest Neighbors, Spanning Trees, and Random. K-Nearest Neighbors works by connecting each node with K of its nearest neighbors while introducing some random jitter. Spanning Trees, on the other hand, utilize Prim and Kruskal's algorithms to create branching, intricate graphs that ensure a path between any two nodes.
Finally, Random mode is the most liberated way of connecting nodes, allowing for total randomness or connecting nodes within a specific distance range in restricted random mode. While this mode may diverge from the natural order, it creates massively imposing results full of color and intricate details that are sure to captivate the viewer.

Shape family

The shape family feature, including the options grid, waves, blend, griddish, waves and dots, limit and weight the shapes chosen to represent the network. This pulls the output along an axis best described as messy or strict, giving pieces a different kind of feel. Each shape invites you to reflect on a special kind of connection - a friendship, a love, a family member a passerby on the street or something entirely else.


Artistic context

As a digital native autodidact, I see my artistic journey as a personal exploration within the digital landscape, navigating the powerful feed-sorting and graph-completion algorithms that both guide and intrude upon our daily lives.

I begin my creative explorations by tapping into my own memories and experiences, seeking to capture and convey the emotions that have left a lasting imprint. My works are often infused with the beauty and rawness of the natural world, reflecting my deep appreciation for the physical and our place within it.

With Nära, I'm pushing myself to new heights, endeavoring to distill the overwhelming sense of interconnectedness that binds us all, peeling back the layers to reveal a transcendent experience that lingers long after the work is done.

I'm indebted to my peers for their unwavering support and guidance, from Rich Poole and MountVitruvius to Bruce from Studio Yorktown and many more. Their technical expertise and artistic insight have helped me hone my craft and find my own voice within the world of generative art.

My influences are many and varied, drawing from a rich tradition of Swedish artists such as Hilma af Klint, Märta Måås-Fjetterström, and Bruno Liljefors. I'm also inspired by more contemporary artists, such as Lasse Åberg for his playful spirit and Olle Baertling for his bold use of color.

To all the pioneers of generative art, I extend my heartfelt thanks for your tireless efforts in pushing the boundaries of what's possible. Together, we're creating a vibrant, dynamic community that's changing the face of art as we know it.


Parting words

For me, Nära is not just a digital tool, it's a way to connect people and experiences. I hope that when you view my works, you are not only enjoying the visuals but also reflecting on the connections and relationships in your life.

Through my meandering journey, I have discovered that art has the power to bring people together and create meaningful experiences. Nära has allowed me to explore this concept even further by creating generative art that transcends beyond the digital space and into our everyday lives.

So I invite you to join me on this journey of exploration, reflection, and connection. Let's create something beautiful together and inspire others to do the same.