When you refuse to let the line simply end

The following article is co-written by James Golbey (from Dump Trumpet) and Avi Abrams. "Dump Trumpet" is a daily compendium of cool links on art, funny stuff, some games and videos, which we find quite entertaining.

Perhaps the essence of minimalism in art, all the pictures shown here are made by drawing a single line without interruption. A maze that hypothetical two-dimensional creatures (from "Flatland", for example) would love to circumnavigate, usually requires quite a lot of concentration from an artist. You will have to keep the whole master pattern in the mind's eye, without luxury of backtracking, or starting anew in a different place.

Steve Lohman's Steel Sculptures

Steve Lohman (from Martha's Vineyard home studio) makes line-art steel and wire sculptures... a clear favorite with art galleries around the world for their whimsical and warm quality.

(images credit: Steve Lohman)

One line to link them all

Geoff Slater (New Brunswick, Canada) makes quite beautiful one-line paintings. He says: "Fundamentally and spiritually, the line represents a certain connectedness - a thread that ties objects and individuals together. Water, trees, land and man-made structures are all linked together... Although the line changes colour, it never touches, or crosses itself"

(images credit: Geoff Slater)

Vintage One-Line Art

This engraving is a one-line likeness of Jesus, published in 1884 by Knowles & Maxim:
"All done with a single stroke of a pen"

Here is a fragment, where you can see individual line (not lines!) -

Somehow similar patterns we can observe in nature. They are called catalysis spirals, occuring when oxygen and carbon monoxide land on the surface of a platinum crystal. Read more info here, via

Travel by the shortest route makes good art

Robert Bosch's work is part of the mathematical side of one-line drawing called "The Travelling Salesman Problem" (TSP) which tries to find the shortest route to all points. The program also makes lovely art (albeit computerized)

The "Travelling Salesman" computer program starts with a black-and-white image. After determining the average darkness for each area, it places a number of "cities to visit" points within each area, relative to its darkness. Then the program solves the problem of visiting all those points by the shortest route - creating a continuous line drawing.

(image credit: Robert Bosch)

In this video "The Travelling Salesman" program is drawing a three-dimensional map of the world, visiting in one uninterrupted line 16189 places:

Returning to the hand-drawn art, we find some pretty good work: Chiani Hsu in his Flickr set draws his one line figures using a mouse.

(image credit: Chiani Hsu)

Pam Sable's "curiously compelling continuous contour drawings" are lively and quite eye-catching:

(images credit: Pam Sable)

Music is perfect match for the expressive line movement

Just as fluid, whimsical lines of Pam Sable's musicians demonstrate, the following music video also shows the spontaneous character of line-drawing. The band "Field Music" creates large wall drawing, called "In Context", and it is brilliant:

These are examples of interesting continuous line art that we could find; if you find more, please let us know - after all, drawing lines in the sand with a stick is one of the most ancient forms of art. The Nazca Spider in Peru, for example, is the biggest line drawing that exists:

All images are published by permission of respective owners

Article by James Golbey and Avi Abrams for Dark Roasted Blend.


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Blogger Kent Johnson said...

Don't forget Etch-a-Sketch art!
e.g. http://images.google.com/images?q=etch+a+sketch

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been doing one line designs since June in the form of "Birth Art". I'm not sure what inspired it, but they are linked to on my site:

Hope you like them!

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Andrea,

We will include some in the next post on this subject.


Blogger Unknown said...

Shameless self promotion I am afraid, but I too have been doing continuous line art in rusty 8 gage fencing wire for 10 years. My name is Philip Mitchell Graham and I call myself the Wire Tamer. My most challenging piece to date is a WW2 Lancaster bomber. http://wiretamer.redbubble.com/

Anonymous Geoff Slater said...

RdHello, this is Geoff Slater! I sure appreciate you including my work in this Blog post! I have some questions for you concerning, in particular, the Travelling Salesman conundrum. Could you email me atgeoff@geoffslater.com ? I would sure appreciate it. The very best, Geoff


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