Database Oeuvre

Data Visualization of Painter's Oeuvres

Year 2018
  • Data Visualization
  • Programming
  • Digital Humanities
  • Bookmaking
  • JavaScript
  • SQL
  • Python
  • InDesign
  • Needle and thread

Database Oeuvre visualizes the the bodies of work produced by select painters, by way of reducing and chronologically presenting their artwork as quantized distributions of color. Database Oeuvre takes two forms: a book and a website. It is partly inspired by Paul Soulellis' essay Search, Compile, Publish.

This project required a multi-stage process of web-scraping, image processing, database building, and data visualization.

Database Oeuvre won first place in the area of design for Knox College's annual Al Young competition in 2019.

The cover of the book, which seems very tall. It has a black and white graphic that is both digital and organic looking above the title which says 'database ouevre'.
Cover type is Terminal Grotesk designed by Raphaël Bastide.
A page of the book with many organized colorful horizontal bars.
Each page represents an individual artist. A page comprises a series of rows, where each row represents a particular artwork, and is composed of that artwork's palette. The rows are arranged chronologically, such that you see that artists' palette change over time.

I was interested in how digital images are reproduced and transformed across physical and digital media.

A webpage which displays a data visualization of the palette of László Moholy-Nagy's artworks.
László Moholy-Nagy's oeuvre displayed on the project's website.

This project was presented at HORIZONS, an annual showcase of student-research and -projects at Knox College.

An informational image which shows details of the visualization and details the process for creating the project.
This slide contained the process for making the book and website as well as select segments of the data visualization.

If you're not interested a summary of the process, feel free to skip this part! First, I scraped about 20,000 images and their associated metadata from different online art archives using python and the requests-html library. Then, I used a particular image processing library to analyze the images and find a representation of their palettes. I transformed the data into a SQL database which I could use to generate the book and website. I created the website with vanilla javascript and database queries, its hosted on Glitch. Finally I designed, printed, and bound the book.