Artist develops software to generate abstract digital art

Kees van Prooijen’s former work as a software developer specializing in graphics is undeniably evident in his abstract digital art.

He’s been an artist for about 30 years, coming to the Bay Area in 1996 from the Netherlands and moving to Concord just last year.

“In the ’90s, my work was featured in computer graphics publications and shown at the Sausalito Art Festival by invitation, as well as a gallery in Point Reyes,” he says. “But between 2000 and 2017, I took a long break from art to focus on my career and family.”

Now that he is retired, van Prooijen has developed his own programming language called “IL” to generate artwork on the computer and print limited editions on canvas or paper.

“My work was originally rooted in constructive mathematical methods, but it still conveyed strong emotion,” he explains. “Recently, I started developing completely new modeling paradigms that simulate the organic growth of figurative content. My first subjects were teeth, ribs and vertebrae.

Artist develops software to generate abstract digital art
Kees van Prooijen created “Quotidian Constituents, Particle 1” using a computer program.

“By manipulating parameters in my programming, I can start with recognizable objects and distort them into something completely different,” he adds. “Sometimes I can control the deviations on the computer and other times I hope for happy accidents.”

Even though he is creating via algorithms, van Prooijen still finds it to be intuitive and emotional.

“I hope that my viewers will recognize that emotion in my work,” he says. “My creative process is different than most artists. Sometimes I begin with a randomized study for a new algorithm and work it through to a detailed vision of my desired result. Other times, a simple texture can inspire me.”

He is still learning about the arts community in Concord and has shown at the aRt Cottage.

“Making art is my life, in all respects. I can’t imagine living without it,” he reflects. “Art keeps me busy thinking, dreaming and working all the time.”

See more of his work at

Lisa Fulmer is a marketing consultant, published author and a community arts advocate.

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