Books on art theory/esthetics for programmers

While I have always created art in various forms, I come from an engineering background and I picked up creative coding only in the last couple of years. While I’m exploring and navigating Processing etc. quite alright, I am interested in learning more about art theory and esthetics that could help improve the works I produce with my creative coding.
Would anyone here have any good book, videos, online courses recommendations?

Two links


see Places online where documentation of amazing projects exist


These topics and their references may complement your search:

( link.

Wikipedia has See also, References and Further Reading which I find useful in my searches… I can get lost in there at times.

And of course: Numerous resources there. Be sure to check out the Exhibition section.

And some interesting topics in TED.
Art takes on many forms. This one caught my interest and the talks that followed:



As you know, there are so many rich areas to explore.

If you’re not already familiar, the Bauhaus school / movement. For immediate consumption, a general overview here:

In addition to learning about it’s basic philosophy, check out the works of the artists’ linked. This will keep you busy for a while. I wouldn’t say there is a definitive book, there are SO MANY to choose from… You can’t go wrong starting with what looks most inviting to you personally.

Also, because the culture is deeply infused with such a sophisticated aesthetic, I recommend looking at Japanese art, design, crafts. We, in the west, are probably most exposed to their kawaii-aesthetic. Do not be deterred. Their visual culture is broad and deep. From any and all eras up to the present. Specifically where to begin? I would recommend starting with a particular time period or medium that you have an affinity for. And then let the search unfold from there.

There is a lot to choose from on LinkedIn Learning (formerly Professional artists and designers teaching basic to more advanced aesthetic (or theory) principles. Monthly subscription gives you unlimited access to all. Not to take away from other online platforms, but I believe was the first, and IMHO offers the most cohesive and professionally produced courses.

Basically you are setting out to educate your eye. Look at copious amounts of art / design / photography / film. Take note of what you like. Visual themes will start to emerge. Increased knowledge of art theory will definitely help but also equally important is an increased awareness of what visual themes you are particularly drawn to. This will help you build a voice unique to you and in turn bring strength to your work.
Hope this helps!


Thank you! This was extremely helpful!


Thank you! I will check out the TED talk you recommended!

Thank you for this comment. It was very helpful. I am familiar with Bauhaus, but I didn’t think about reviewing their work as part of this thought process.
I am interested in learning more about Japanese art, especially the Japanese digital/new media art scene. Any recommendations on where to start for that?

You could start with Yayoi Kusama. She does installations, and some of it is digital. She’s prolific, and her life has been very interesting.

Also, Tatsuo Miyajima

I like the street photography of American photographer, living in Japan, John Sypal

And Japanese photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto, is sublime.

Plus, take a look at this Library of Congress resource of Japanese woodblock prints—particularly the landscapes. Though not specific to digital / new media scene, it’s instructive for how the artists have used space in dynamic ways—positive vs negative, big vs small, selective color placement, etc.

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This TED talk you posted is great!!

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Some great talks there. I started with the one I posted and watched a whole stream of others that followed…
I had a few days at work last year exploring data visualization; I will never see data the same!

Fantastic resource! Fortunately, I have access to this through work.


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