Although it’s awesome, I doubt many people have heard to John Conway’s Game of Life. It’s nothing to do with the board game that you may have played in the 80’s but is rather a set of simple rules to simulate cellular life. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then you can read more about it on Wikipedia.

In summary, the Game of Life starts with a grid of spaces (e.g. a 10 x 10 grid), each of which can be empty of occupied. From the initial state, you apply a set of simple rules which determine which occupied cells stay occupied or become empty and whether any occupied cells “divide” and occupy an empty neighbouring cell. This gives you a new grid, which may have more or less occupied cells. You then repeat the application of the rules, giving successive states of the grid – generations, if you will. Depending on the state, some grids eventually become empty, some become completely occupied, and some end up in an infinitely repeating loop.

Anyway, I’ve always been fascinated by the Game of Life; the idea that such complex and seemingly organic shapes and patterns can emerge from such a simple system seems bonkers to me. So I wrote a program (available on GitHub) to run the Game of Life and allow me to find interesting patterns that I could then save to a vector file format, which I could then use to create some prints. Each of the prints shown on this page is a successive sequence following the Game of Life rules, going left-to-right then top-to-bottom. So you could write your own program (or even do it on paper) and start with the top-left image shown on a print, and it would give you the next on along, and so on.

I had one-off prints made of my favourite series, which are available to buy here.