‘The People’: Solarflare Studio & UK artist create digital art show


In a captivating fusion of art and technology, contemporary artist Jonathan Huxley and Solarflare Studio’s Chief Technology Officer, Stuart Cupit, have collaborated to create an ever-evolving digital masterpiece entitled ‘The People’.

The generative artwork will be publicly exhibited at Galerie Olivier Waltman as part of the MaraisDigitARt event in Paris from 13 to 23 September.

Solarflare and Huxley

The project came about when Cupit was introduced to Huxley by a mutual friend and they realised they shared a fascination with generative systems and emergent behaviours.

Rooted in Huxley’s fascination with patterns and motion and fuelled by Cupit’s technological expertise, this pioneering project enters a new realm, featuring a mesmerising, infinite generative simulation of a crowd painting that captures the very essence of humanity through perpetual rhythm and motion.

With every iteration of the simulation, a distinct pattern emerges. The thousands of agents, each endowed by their own behaviour and ability to respond to external stimuli in real-time, collectively shape the evolving dynamics of the piece. ‘The People’ can be viewed here

“Jonathan was looking for a way to bring his paintings into the digital world, and Solarflare is always keen to collaborate with inspiring artists”, said Cupit.

“This project sounded like a fascinating opportunity to explore how the latest simulation algorithms and machine learning could be used to bring Jonathan’s paintings to life, making the individual people move and seeing how they react to

each other.

How ‘The People’ was created 

The project’s journey began with a workshop in which the Solarflare Studio team spent a day painting with Huxley in his studio to understand his work, what inspires his crowd scenes, and how he comes up with their positions and looks.

“Initially, we tried several different approaches to create the new work using various computer programmes and our own code, realising the best-looking results came from using a flocking algorithm that mimics the way large numbers of individuals move in crowds”, Cupit said.

Each agent’s behaviour is governed by rules like staying close to the crowd but not too close and moving in similar

directions. From these, an ever-changing, beautiful movement pattern emerges with a mesmerising natural quality to it.

We settled on using the open-source software Blender, as it could create high-quality motion-blurred images reminiscent of Jonathan’s work and it has the flexibility to develop simulations within it.”

Huxley added: “Working with Stuart and Solarflare we’ve created a generative artwork that truly is infinite; a display of humanity manifested in perpetual rhythm and motion.

“Ironically, cutting edge technology and brilliant know-how from Stuart has resulted in the most accessible work I have had the honour to collaborate in.

“The title, ‘The People,’ reflects the fundamental nature of its creation.”

Ten unique editions of ‘The People’ will be available for collectors to purchase at the Galerie Olivier Waltman.

After the exhibition, Solarflare and Huxley aim to continue the collaboration, exploring the merging of traditional and digital art.