This is a light experimental piece I thought up, so I went ahead and did it

122, by Eric Kuns. Digital art. 1/2014
122, by Eric Kuns. Digital art. 1/2014. CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE LARGER VERSION.

The piece has 122 different colors, 122 different fonts, and 122 names of famous people (well, 121 + I threw myself in there for fun). Guess what it’s called? 122. Why 122 variations? That’s how many different colors there are in the standard Photoshop color swatch palette.This piece is largely conceptual, a sort of experiment where I set up the parameters, then execute it to see what I will get. It’s partly just curiosity about what it will look like if I follow the guidelines I set up. So, it uses all the colors in the palette, but only the first 122 fonts I have. There are also 122 layers.

Here are the guidelines for the experiment, as I laid them out:

Word Painting for Famous People

  1. Fonts and colors cannot repeat. Which ever I run out of first ends the piece.
  2. Make a text layer and enter the name of a famous person.
  3. Assign a font. (easiest to keep track if I start with a)
  4. Choose a color from the swatches tablet. Just go in order.
  5. Use a random number generator for between 100 and 900 pixels for font size.
  6. Can move around text on layer.
  7. Use all greys and blacks, including white.
  8. Once all the layers are compiled, can change the order to insure all names are to some degree visible, and for aesthetic reasons.

I chose whatever names popped into my head while I was assembling the piece. They don’t have any relevance or deliberate connection to the fonts or colors. It includes artist, musicians, movie stars, politicians, athletes, and there are people in there I don’t like at all. Like I said, whatever names popped in my head I used. Which colors and fonts I used was based on a system I devised to insure I didn’t repeat fonts or colors. I arranged it as aesthetically as I could without getting over-fussy about it. OK, it’s very carefully arranged to be a beautiful as I could make it working with more than a few inevitably objectionable colors and fonts, hard edges, and other limitations built into the experiment.

Not my normal style(s), but I always like to experiment. And it’s kind of like an experiment + a game. I would choose the names BEFORE the color or the size of the font, so that those elements would be left to chance and surprise me. “Jackson Pollock” came out enormous. “Jeff Koons” came out tiny. That was sheer coincidence.

Close up of 122 by Eric Kuns
Close up of 122.

Click on the image if you want to see the larger jpg to look for more names. And if you are obsessive compulsive about this sort of thing, you can buy a print and really go digging. Some names are probably too obscured to read from the fragments showing, but I made sure that every names shows in part.

And it is kinda’ beautiful from a distance, like an Abstract Expressionist sort of painting, or even a landscape if you get even further back. And one advantage of this piece is that it’s a vector image, not a pixel image, so can be enlarged to billboard size with absolute clarify. Uhhh. It can be any size, for those that measure the worth of contemporary art by square footage.


WARNING: If you don’t want to endure the self-promo stuff I have to do to try to keep afloat, stop scrolling now. Content here is always free to you, but if someone wants a print, or to help out, I need to make that possible. I also offer prints for a minimal profit above production costs. In other words, they are inexpensive.

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Looks good with a white border.


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2 replies on “122 names, colors & fonts.

  1. It turned out rather well, didn’t it? Love the closeup, and the fact that this picture would be such a conversation piece! I can visualize folks gathering around it and talking about who they see and what they think about each person. Cheers!


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