Dartco meets RobertHouse

John Robert Householder, in art Robert House. Here at TheDArtCo we are very happy supporters and active collectors of his artworks and now it’s time to learn more about one of our most appreciated artists.

In https://www.artstation.com/roberthouseart/profile we could find this: Robert House is an optical and light engineer of 20+ years harnessing light for technical and aesthetic control using complex freeform and rigorous equation-based modeling and design techniques. He has taught 1,000+ students and attendees at global conferences and has turned this passion for lighting design and teaching into creativity in the digital arts. The first of many works is presented here.

Now in Austin TX in the middle of this incredibly rare event of a snow storm down there!

TheDArtCo: Rob, when did you decide to become an artist?

Rob: I have always enjoyed art and music.  I especially enjoy stringed instruments and have been very interested in EDM and generative music.  I plan to incorporate more generative music into art.  Early in my life I was fond of freehand copying cartoons and other work.  I did photography up through primary school.  I was accepted to attend Rochester Institute of Technology, a well-known school for photography, but decided to pursue engineering and not the arts.  My Mother, in her wisdom, thought engineering might be better for my career.  I turned to digital art (CryptoArt) during the global pandemic with all my spare time to express myself.  I see CryptoArt (and music) as my second life!

TheDArtCo: On Artstation you say you are using complex freeform and rigorous equation- based modeling and design techniques to generate your artworks. Please can you explain your philosophy? Also, why did you choose to do digital art specifically?

Rob: I started with generative art design to learn Python and Javascript programming using the Processing framework for visual expression.  I have morphed into a variety of other art modes and have taught myself to work in Blender, GIMP, Inskape (if vector is needed) and my new passion is TouchDesigner to help combine generative works with still and live imagery.

TheDArtCo: Static and video artworks all made by yourself of course. How you decide which one you will be using?

Rob: This is a great question.  Usually, I am hit with an idea or general concept.  I start to think about how to express this idea visually.  If we look at the ‘Tension’ series, for instance, the original thought was from a speaker I heard 20 years ago (yes I am old…), who spoke of tensions in life, like a power wire between two poles.  I started to explore visually tensions: old vs young, male vs female, rich vs poor, etc.  I created a number of generative ‘mashups’ of images to help me express these ideas.  Most of the images are still in this series. 

TheDArtCo: What do you think about blockchain art?

Rob: I am 100% into blockchain art or CryptoArt.  I could open a web store and imprint my work on shirts or ‘hoodies’ and maybe I will someday.  I started collecting CryptoArt before putting myself out there as an artist on the blockchain.  I have 10x more I have collected than ‘minted’ myself.

TheDArtCo: You are a light engineer. Can you tell us something about this? And you are also a professor….

Rob: My educational background is imaging systems and optical engineering.  I have worked on and designed both imaging and laser systems and spent half my career designing optical systems for LED lighting working with clients all over the world.  I feel that the LED lighting design has allowed me to have the creative outlet I was built for that is now in my CryptoArt.  I have had the honor to teach LED optical design for the last 14 years at conferences mainly in the US but also in other parts of the world.

TheDArtCo: We see that your artworks can be done in many and very different styles. Can you help us understanding this?

Rob: Yes.  While I really appreciate when an artist can develop a very interesting and visually appealing style and work to perfect that style, I tend to be more ‘wide’ than ‘deep’ in my art thus far.  With that said, I have been adding poetry to many of my works lately to help me communicate the initial idea.  I have been really drawn to Haiku.  I love the structure of 5-7-5!  Perhaps this is the engineer in me to ‘optimize’ the syllables to fit the structure.

TheDArtCo: between Non Binary and Sapphire, or between Building blocks and Surrender: we very much love the artworks but there is a lot of distance between them. Now you must teach us about this!

Rob: Chuckle.  Yes, I am captivated by ideas such as NonBinary or the word Surrender.  This latest piece, Sapphire, was a GAN (generative adversarial network) piece that formed into what is seen now.  The Haiku (sapphire warlock is | standing tall time or mountain | which will fall but all) that goes along with the piece was what I imagined looking at this resultant image.  This one started as still but then I added it to a TouchDesigner script to create the glitch effect to help communicate the idea. 

If we talk about NonBinary, I am captivated by individuals that search for truth but my thought is to extend this word and idea to those that society has ‘labeled’ as one thing or another.  I feel that we are all ‘NonBinary’ in the sense of being unique and loved.  I try hard to avoid bias and labeling when possible. 

The word Surrender has a special meaning as I have a family member that has struggled with addiction and this has been my prayer for him.  This piece was dedicated to him and his path forward.  Here is the Haiku I wrote for the piece: ‘stacked climbing must get | to the top, to the one who | is there but was here’.

TheDArtCo: Digital art and DeFi: what do you think about it?

Rob: I am all in!  We will always need traditional ‘analog’ artists and the process to create digital (and possibly crypto) art may be to start with sketching.  I have some of my retirement money with masterworks.io so I can help support the traditional art market.  I love seeing the masters and look forward to taking in work by Banksy, for instance, in New Orleans during my next visit. 

For Digital Art or CryptoArt, it brings art to everyone.  They can own it.  They can trade it.  Any artist can create and showcase their work.  I believe decentralized art is a beautiful transformation that adds value to visual art in every way. 

DeFi is very interesting.  Satoshi’s original Bitcoin white paper describing a decentralized approach to currency and this has grown into many Finance sectors.  I see DeFi as the way to move ‘back door’ big bank centralizations to bring access to large credit markets to the masses.  We see this happening now with DeFi and with the Binance CeDeFi platform. 

TheDArtCo: What are you going to show us in the next future?

Rob: Wow.  I have so many ideas but only a little time each day.  My full-time job is selling optical simulation software so I work on ideas when I can.  I continue to be very interested in generative art and have been doing more of this in TouchDesigner.  I believe you will see more generative still and video imagery from TouchDesigner soon.  I will then work next on adding more music to the artwork.  I have started a collaboration called #Gen13.  This is based on natural language generative techniques with 13 artists.  I have a No.1 and No.2 group.  I have kept the ‘rules’ a secret and each artist does not know about the piece until they receive it from the previous artist.  My goal would be to build up enough money to stop my full-time job to work on CryptoArt…maybe after I put my kids through college…

Find here our collection of Rob’s beautiful pieces