My name is Harvey Rayner and I currently live in upstate NY, USA with my wife and best dog friend Hektor. I use the social media handle @patterndotco, but this was never intended as an alias. My wife and I have two adult children and are owners of a small company called Moonleap. Asides making art almost every day since I could hold a pencil, I have a number of other creative pursuits including: Experimental greenhouse design and construction; House renovation; Web development; Design tools development; Ceramics and permaculture design. When asked what my background is I am always a little lost for words. For me every creative project is the same project but from the outside they probably look very different. Making art has however always been my default activity. Combined with daily meditation these are the consistent practices I have valued above all others.
About making art
I’ve been making generative art for about 10 years and prior to this I evolved art from strict geometric systems. In the 90s I used compass and rule in an attempt to structure my compositional space in an equivalent way to how harmonics and tempo structure sound into music. In this period I employed very simple monochrome elements so that I could explore compositional structure without getting distracted with the sensuality of color and texture. In this early period, I learned that for me, limitation was key to expression. I have many disparate creative interests and projects and so making art that is very formalized, and in the last decade art from code, enables me to focus and really dig into visual invention. The generative work I make today started life as a series of tools I developed to visualize and build intuitions about geometric objects I’ve been fascinated with since my formative years as an artist. These geometric primitives today however, are expressed as complex wave interference patterns that combine to build rich textures and generative color spaces. As before, I find artistic freedom when keeping my tools and technology simple and consistent. I use vanilla JS rendering to Canvas and SVG. I love building my own UI development tools and systems for ordering and evaluating outputs. In this way I aim to make my workflow as effortless and intuitive as possible so I can stay focussed on developing visual invention. In some respects I see my approach as quite oldschool in the sense that I’m almost exclusively interested in evolving visual language and the conceptual context of art throughout time holds little interest for me. For me, what makes a Michelangelo and a Rembrandt so compelling and alive today is not the conceptual framing of the work when it was created. Most of this just gets lost or at least becomes irrelevant as time passes. What remains that still has the power to connect is expressed solely through the visual dynamics and invention the artist has evolved and this cannot be translated into words and concepts.
‘The greatest artist works without concept’ ~ Michelangelo
Ultimately, making art for me is a private practice of self discovery. If anything I do touches another person that’s a bonus. Inspiration for me comes from regular work and meditative silence. The art is an expression of this dance between activity and non-activity. JS Bach said, ‘If I do not love my work, then who else is going to love it’. For all the formality I heap on my approach to art making, if my work is not an act of love then it is not an act worth undertaking.
Life :: Creativity
‘A flight from the unknown to the unknown’ ~ Rumi
Life can also be like making art when we are not afraid to trust life completely and say YES to the unknown. When I was twenty-two I spent six months hitchhiking and riding freight trains around the USA without any money. I had to rely on my intuition to find food from dumpsters and slept rough on the streets and under bridges. I never feared for my safety yet never knew where I would end up at the end of the day. It's the same process in making art. When we carry around too many fixed ideas about where we have been and where we are heading, both life and art can become a heavy burden.
Whilst living by a beautiful remote stretch of the Suffolk coast in England, I enjoyed searching for interesting rocks that became exposed in the cliffs as they were eroded by the sea. My mind was always open to the possibility of finding something remarkable, yet I simply enjoyed the process whether I found something or not. When walking along the beach with a sense of wonder and awe one day I was drawn to a small white rock sticking out of the sand. As I dug around, deeper and deeper to extricate it, I realized I had found a rare and beautiful Paramoudra. Having subsequently researched this type of fragile flint formation I've become increasingly convinced of the rarity of such an example.
For me these two examples are of life as art. The process of discovery is the same as when I am in the process of creating art. Somehow, I do not feel the works on this site are created by me, but somehow, through a willingness to investigate the unknown, they have appeared to me in my life - where they came from I have no idea.
There is a Tibetan Buddhist saying - ‘Humans too readily believe what is easy to believe and too readily disbelieve what is not easy to believe’