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Screenshot of Auto-Illustrator 1.2 Carbon

Auto-Illustrator is the follow-up to Adrian Ward’s Autoshop (1999). The work is an interactive piece of software which generates vector art based on user input. It parodies the constraints and automation of modern design software as well as the trends of digital designers. However, it also asks questions about authorship in digital work.

Ward intended the software to act as an embodiment of his creative expression and decision-making process, and thus the resulting image could be seen as his creation, deferred over time. While the result is dependent upon the input of the user, the piece seeks to portray the use of software as participation in a collaborative process. It questions whether design trends or an individual’s design skills could be packaged into a set of coded actions.

The piece also draws attention to economics of software and digital art. It is available for free with a limited set of features, but users who purchase the software unlock the full feature-set and receive a certificate declaring that they own the artwork.