The very first time I went to a digital generative art exhibit with my husband, MARQ528, I was quite intrigued yet felt overwhelmed by all the different images before me. Some were still, and others had movement. Some were abstract, and others familiar. And some were huge, while others were tiny.
In the corner of the gallery, one piece stood out to me. It was bright, bold, and incredibly colorful but simultaneously managed to instill a calming effect. It was Does the line go up? by Anna Lucia, and I couldn’t take my eyes off its mesmerizing beauty.
Upon sight, I felt this was the work of a woman. I was immediately struck by the artwork’s vibrant palette representing the perfect summer bathing suit, bag, and cover-up combination — it made me dream of summer. Then the lines, all of which passed in the same directions together, actually had oppositional energy that accentuates the contrasting colors. The work’s strong geometric presence belied its unmistakable femininity, a quality which, I could identify with and feel.
I asked my husband about the artist; he told me it was Anna Lucia, whose recent work he had collected on fxhash. He excitedly and immediately grabbed his phone and showed me the recent acquisition, entitled Art for Walls in Public Spaces, while hoping for the validation he yearns for whenever I show interest in seeing the things he collects in the middle of the night…
In Art for Walls in Public Spaces, I saw the same unique and feminine colors, but with moving lines: together in unison, yet away from each other. Its movement was at once unlike anything I’d seen before and strikingly similar to the static piece I’d just seen in the gallery. They shared a contrarian pushing and pulling, together and away.
Intrigued, I wanted to learn more, which I did — and I even had the pleasure of meeting Anna Lucia, this hugely talented artist who enlightened and engaged me even more.
A civil engineer by education and practice, she stumbled upon processing in 2019 and was instantly hooked. Anna Lucia had finally found something that incorporated both her creative and mathematical sides, so she learned to code after work hours, keeping her progress private until her Instagram appeared online in 2020. That’s when she realized for the first time that, all along, she’d been practicing a code-based art form called generative art.
Despite living and working in Egypt thousands of miles away from home, she connected with an entire community of generative artists sharing their works on social media. Meeting like-minded people gave her the confidence to keep creating, and that’s how she eventually sold her first NFT. Since then, Anna Lucia says she has “lost a hobby, but gained a career,” a career which she never thought possible.
One of her first projects, Loom, further drew me to her work. Aside from its intricate beauty, I find it so enjoyable – it was created within the context of being a fabric that was loomed, albeit digitally, as I appreciate fashion and textiles myself.
With Art for Walls in Public Spaces, Anna Lucia takes Loom to the next level. I think what makes Art for Walls so beautiful is that Lucia takes her engineering background, where she designs and creates functional but not necessarily aesthetically pleasing things, and combines that with her artistic talent and creates such complicated yet meditative work in a variety of contexts, such as textiles and murals.
It struck me that an underlying theme threads between Loom and Art for Walls in Public Spaces: an ode to the female artists of the past who created beautified utilitarian works and chose 'canvases' such as textiles and public spaces — typically the domains of makers rather than artists, but public domains nonetheless.
"I hate elitism, and elitism in art through centuries was handed down by men. We were never seen as makers of art. For thousands of years, weaving, ceramics, sewing were believed to be what untutored women made with their hands. But that was our art." — Miriam Schapiro
Here we are in 2022, on the brink of a mass digital art movement. A female artist is creating dynamic murals with code, transforming an ancient tradition practiced on walls in caves, subway tunnels, and city parks. And if that isn’t incredible enough, Anna Lucia is also leaving a mark on the utilitarian tool itself — NFTs, the digital tokens tied to the art. Only now, through the sheer beauty and resonance of the work she’s creating, the tradable utility of the tokens is stripped away for us and planted permanently in our collection – her work truly standing on its own as Art.