Selected Works

Licia He, 2021 Spring

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300+ Days with Plotters

On Oct. 1st, 2019, my first Axidraw plotter arrived. It quickly became my current top art medium choice because of its versatility. I established a daily painting practice where I experiment with plotter-enabled creations every day and share my progress on social media. In the process, I developed a plotter-focused toolkit that supports implementation and realization of Python-based generative art. So far, I have completed 300+ days of plotter experiments and summarized my current experience in this article. In 2021, I plan to launch three more 100-day projects focusing on plotter-related creation.

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Plotting with Thread: Fabricating Delicate Punch Needle Embroidery with X-Y Plotters

Punch needle embroidery is a unique type of embroidery that uses loops of threads to create designs. Technology for punch needle embroidery ranges from the popular handheld manual tools to high-cost industrial tufting machines. Computer-controlled punch needle fabrication tools remain out-of-reach for most practitioners. In this work(in collaboration with Dr. Eytan Adar ), we describe how a low-cost X-Y plotter can be repurposed to support punch needle embroidery fabrication. By adding easy-to-make physical accessories coupled with a novel software toolkit, we support the production of delicate and precise punch needle embroideries with minimal manual labor. The work and the toolkit(ThreadPlotter) have been published at DIS 2020 and received the honorable mention award (top 5% Submissions).

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CardioDoodler: a Heartbeat-visualizing Robot

Cardio Doodler is a heartbeat-visualizing robot that makes artistic visualizations using real-time heartbeat data. Designed for meditation and workout, this robot processes and plots with the data collected by a photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor. In this collaborative project (with Yue Wang, Olivia Mengzhu, and Hari Subramonyam, our team (DoodleIt Team) participated in the UIST 2018 student innovation contest in Berlin, Germany. Our design won the best implementation award. Read more: Ideation Design Doc | Design Doc Used During Demo

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The Playing Card Generator

The Playing Card Generator is a generative art system that creates playing card designs. It visualizes playing card data (e.g., spade-ace, heart-7, diamond-12(queen)) into graphical elements. Currently, it has one set of algorithms that creates infinite variations of designs. Each design set contains 56 cards, including the standard 52 cards, 2 joker cards, a cover design, and a backup card. The card number was then mapped to the number of polygons. For example, Diamond-3 would consist of 3 nested parallelograms. The system is publicly available for downloading and printing. The article titled "How I designed playing cards using a data visualization design approach" documents the design and implementation process.

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The Data of Watercolor

In collaboration with DOIIIT studio, I hosted a group of workshops titled The Data of Watercolor: Creating & Analyzing Watercolor Art to Support Generative Art Creation. We discussed and experimented with various ways to redesign traditional art processes with digital tools and platforms in this series of workshops. Participants got hands-on experience in making watercolor from scratch in the first workshop. In preparing for the workshop, I developed Dot Visualizer, a demo that digitizes watercolor paintings. The main idea is to convert watercolor paintings into colored dots using the halftoning algorithm, treat them as data points, and then visualize them. Then, I introduced participants to d3.js, a data visualization library, by creating a design challenge that utilizes lines and circles. Read more: Handout for workshop 1 (focused on watercolor making) | Handout for workshop 2 (focused on generative art)

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Hidden Message

Hidden Message is a generative puzzle system that visualize words. Using a quote dataset , this system translates words into graphics using one of the three sets of puzzling encoding rules. I invite my viewers to solve the puzzle by figuring out the encoding rules: e.g., how does the character "A" get translated into this graph? Each set of encoding rules corresponds with a different level of difficulty. (If you solve the puzzle, congratulation! Feel free to contact me to confirm if your guess is correct or not.) (Link to the live system, press "U" and "P" to generate a new design)

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The Tower_of_Babel.jpg

Across all Wikipedia language editions, millions of images augment text in critical ways. This visual encyclopedic knowledge is an important form of wikiwork for editors, a critical part of reader experience, an emerging resource for machine learning, and a lens into cultural differences. In this paper titled "The_Tower_of_Babel.jpg: Diversity of Visual Encyclopedic Knowledge Across Wikipedia Language Editions" (in collaboration with Dr.Allen Yilun Lin, Dr. Brent J. Hecht, and Dr. Eytan Adar ) , we find that cross-language image diversity rivals, and often exceeds, that found in text. We find that diversity varies between language pairs and content types, but that many images are unique to different language editions. Our findings have implications for readers (in what imagery they see), for editors (in deciding what images to use), for researchers (who study cultural variations), and for machine learning developers (who use Wikipedia for training models).

We offer an online toolkit (ImageDive) that visualizes image diversity for a single concept.

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Truchet Pattern Generator

Truchet Pattern Generator is a generative art system that visualizes the concept of connection. It utilizes a grid-based layout and builds connections between nodes along the edges. It colors shapes formed by these random connections using a list of curated color schemes. The live system is available on my website (hold "U" and "P" to update the pattern).

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Painting Collection 2020

Paintings included:

So how does it operate? Watercolor on textured paper.

Being warm maybe — but I do. Watercolor on Yupo paper

While I’m at it you can rule the seas. Watercolor on paper

Oh he had a reputation that was hard to have faith. Watercolor on paper

And you would be part of justice being done.. Watercolor on paper

He didn’t even wait for the new leads.Three.Three? Watercolor on Yupo paper

What’s it to them okay? Watercolor on textured paper

There’s a mystery to you. Watercolor on paper

Visit my gallery to see more paintings.

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Mini Generative System Collection

Generative art often focuses on the process of making rather than the results. In the following collection of mini generative systems, I played with simple rules that generate infinite visuals variations. Systems included:

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Licia He is a generative artist. Through her research and artworks, she explores ways to record and present information around her. After receiving training in both studio art (printmaking focused) and computer science, Licia is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan, School of Information, where she specializes in examining and supporting artistic practices. Her website: http://eyesofpanda.com/ displays her collection of artworks and notes.

Shiqing Licia He @2021, all rights reserved