Allen Hirsh was born and raised in Toms River, New Jersey by chicken farmers turned nurserymen and landscapers. He currently lives and works in Silver Spring, Maryland. He received his BS in biology from the California Institute of Technology in 1970, spent the following three years as a graduate student in neurophysiology at Columbia University in New York, and eventually received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology at The University of MD in College Park in 1985.
My philosophy of Digital Art is that it represents another form of painting. Instead of using brush and paint and canvas, the digital artist uses the virtual easel of the screen and the tools available to manipulate bitmap files (Adobe Photoshop, Painter, etc.) to construct the image he or she is imagining. What I do is partially within that mold, but with a fundamentally unique twist. Except for blowing images up, changing file types and printing, all actual manipulation of my images is done exclusively with software engines that I write. A crude analogy would be a traditional artist who also creates his or her paints, brushes and canvas from raw materials. Yet that comparison is also profoundly misleading because in reality I am exploring the power of my linked system of multilevel mathematical equations to ferret out a small sample of the virtually infinite patterns hidden in the photographs I use as raw material (approximately a Google to the three hundred sixty thousandth power). I do this by loading images, initially digital photographs, into my system then systematically transforming them by varying the input values to the painting program. Images can be hybridized with each other and retransformed any number of times. I never use commercial software to alter images, nor are pixels ever manipulated by hand-everything is done by the equation sets. My goal is to explore the image generating power inherent in the marriage of real world photos and mathematics. Ironically, given that my images are generated solely by mathematics, I think that the best analogy to my efforts comes from the Kabbalists, the Jewish Mystics. They say that there are infinite layers of meaning that are hidden in the Torah (the Five Books of Moses), such that, by expanding each Hebrew letter into its name repeatedly, one can create an endlessly expanding text and here and there a new cosmic insight will emerge. That is somewhat analogous to what I do with my tools as a digital artist. Part of the art is the images created, part of it is the invention of a continuously growing image transformation engine. In this way I demonstrate that hidden in ordinary photographic images of flowers, landscapes, everyday objects, animals and humans is an endless array of magical forms waiting to be birthed by the grace of mathematics.