Alan Hirsch: The District’s Abstract Gardener

On a cold January day, while Washingtonians scurried home amidst the below freezing temperatures, the Free Canvas team visited the Foundry Gallery in southeast Dupont Circle to speak with digital artist Allen Hirsh. Hirish, the District’s “Abstract Gardener,” is Foundry’s only artist using a digital medium; a unique feature among the Washington art scene.

Watch as Hirsh creates a work of art for us on the spot via hybridizing a picture of a lamp taken by his daughter in the Netherlands with a unique color palette he had previously derived.

A bio-physicist by trade; when not creating logarithmic art he is conducting scientific research in a D.C. area lab five days a week. One of the first users to implement  the BASIC programming language, he explained how he harnesses the mathematics and computer science to create art.

With over 30,000 lines of code per image, Hirsh assembles basic mathematical transformations to combine pictures and swaths of color to form digital modern masterpieces. Running sine, cosine and logarithmic transformations on his computer, he takes select color pixels from one photo and hybridizes them with a color palette that he has derived through his complex algorithms. Inspired by Einstein, Hirsh is a true scientist at work – testing and experimenting with different combinations of color, tones, and subject matters to create a wealth of rich images.

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