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The Science of Additive Art

Art is not all creativity and divine inspiration — it can also be math and science. Process art is becoming increasingly popular as more artists are using additive techniques to create works drawn not just from inner creativity, but using procedures as well. The process is common, though not well known, in many creative fields — music composition, sound synthesis, sculpture, and painting.

What is additive art?

The main question for those who aren’t familiar with additive art is, of course: What is additive art? The most basic answer is part of the word “additive”: it’s a process of creation where you start with nothing (or very little) and add onto it gradually. In sound synthesis, additive synthesis is a common technique: you start with a simple sine, triangle, or other wave, and you begin adding more waves and resonances on top of it until you have something whole and completely new. In sculpture, rather than beginning with a block of granite (a subtractive process) you begin with one material — clay, for instance — and add onto it until the project is complete.

You can find simple metaphor in something like the 2048 game. You begin with just a couple small numbers and add them together. 2 goes with 2, you get 4. Put a 4 with another 4, you make an 8, and so on. You build the numbers until either your board is full (your sculpture is about to topple) or you’ve reached your goal of getting a 2048 tile (your work feels completed). In some cases, the game or sculpture is a clearly defined pattern which you can quantify. In others, like this painting or this 2048 spin-off, the patterns aren’t so obvious.

The point is that you start with something small — a number, a design, a material — and build until you have something completely new.

Types of Additive Art


If you think about it, painting is by nature an additive art form, though the process behind the work may not be additive. Adding red paint to blue paint gives you purple, and you keep mixing in colors until you get the exact shade you want. Putting the paint on canvas is also an additive process — you don’t start with a full block of paint and chip away at it, like you would with a sculpture.

But this definition of additive is very broad. More specifically, it’s the intent of the painter. The painter who has a full landscape image in his mind and sets to paint it is not using an additive process. However, an abstract painter who doesn’t plan out the entire painting may choose to paint a pattern here, add something there, and keep on doing this until he or she has covered the entire canvas multiple times, resulting in an amalgam of colors and patterns.



Sculpture is generally thought of as a subtractive process. You start with a block of granite, marble, or stone, and you chip away at it. You start with a general shape, then gradually get into the fine details. Some types of sculptures, however, are built from the ground up using an additive process. Ceramic works are shaped by hand, adding clay and molding them; the same is true with handmade pots and other dishware. Paper crafts and abstract sculpture are also generally made using additive processes, starting with a small piece of material and adding to it in different shapes and with different materials.

There are just the basics of additive art, but hopefully you’ll know where to go from here. As with any art form, there is a lot left to learn, so keep learning!


The 6 Most Amazing Works of Art… Made Out of Food

Masterpiece Morsels

What is art? Some say it is a physical manifestation of expression. Others say it is a method of communication like a yodel or the sound of a bird’s wings defying the very air with rebellious flaps. Alas, to define such an elusive construct is to create art itself, for interpretation can be considered art. However, there was one bastion left in the known universe that pretty much everyone agreed was not art, and that was food. Now even that’s been thrown to the wind. Check out these acts of love and hate and tremble. Tremble at the audacity of man!

Watermelon Shark

A shark carved from a “water” melon. Notice the correlation between this aquatic melon and the aquatic creature it now resembles. While the image is obviously not alive, it is also fraught with impermanence. After all, this very shark looking object was once a simple melon! Upon the next glance will it become a full living shark? In life nothing is knowable.

Chewbacca Noodles

The Star Wars character “Chewbacca” the wookie is an outcast. A pariah. A friend. He travels for many years with only the company of his human companion Han Solo to bring a pleased gurgle to his throat from time to time. Han often refers to Chewbacca as “Chewy”, a degradation of the proud Kashyyk language. Chewbacca is brought lower once again in this clownish noodled form. How much longer must he suffer? How long… until revolution?

Sleeping Bear Egg

This rice bear sleeps on a cold plate, with nothing to warm his bones but a meager egg blanket. This piece is a relic of the Great Depression in many ways. With the squalid Hoovervilles forcing men, women, and children to live in the manner of cartoon bears, oftentimes without even an egg blanket to cover their despair. There is still ketchup on your hands, ghost of President Coolidge!

Chocolate Keyboard

Let me just type up an email quickly on this– WAITAMINUTE?!


A pizza is an unhealthy substance from which to gain nutrition, and yet it has crept its way into our lifestyles, into the minds of our very children through the power of media brainwashing. Oh Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles love pizza, and they’re certainly fit specimens. Why don’t I enjoy a pizza, it will make me fit? This pizza in the shape of an octopus, an animal that provides a healthy treat for all, reflects the deception of every day life, and the lies of those we give our trust.

McDonalds Aquatic

Contrary to popular opinion this image shows a french fry crab, not a french fry spider. It approaches the ketchup packet with a stance that is alien, yet honest and true. It defies the encryption of the spider’s lore: a hall decked in shadows, fear, and lust for blood. Yet it still yearns for the ketchup packet. The lesson here? Desire is eternal.

Key Reads, Cool Apps Man, and Museum Network Join The Answers Network

Answers Network is pleased to announce that Key Reads, Cool Apps Man, and Museum Network have officially joined The Answers Network. These three reputable brands span a combined 25 years of excellence in web-magazine and digital media publishing, and the Answers Network looks to continue their growing success—under a new umbrella.

With Museum Network being in business 17 years, Cool Apps Man for the past 5 years and Key Reads 3 years, the Answers Network will continue to foster all of their writing talents and experience. The Answers Network is a growing force in the digital publishing world, and adding three prestigious sites will only continue the already mounting success Answers Network has come to build in just a few short months.

Answers Network is filled with young talent that live for publishing about mobile and console games. The Answers Network is the leader in publishing not only original, but topical content about all the latest trending games from around the world. The Answers Network’s vast sites generate over 86 million page views with 2.7 million visits, and 2.3 unique visits in the U.S. alone. Globally, Answers Networks’ websites generate a monthly traffic of 230 million page views, 6.5 million visits, and 5.4 million unique visitors.
Key Reads, Cool Apps Man, and Museum Network will only continue to drive this young and talented Answers Network machine. The Answers Network looks forward to meeting even greater success now with these three acquisitions. And we hope that you will continue to follow the progression and success these publishing sites have, as well as the continuous emergence of the Answers Network.