Ira Greenberg

Creative Computation

Professor and Director
Painting, Drawing and Creative Computation





A post-computational practice.

‘My practice includes drawing, computation and painting. Regardless of medium, my process is primarily generative/emergent. I begin most often automatically, with no target/goal/outcome in mind; my hands begin drawing/coding/painting. Hopefully, something engaging reveals itself along the way. I define my overall process as post-computational, in that it is deeply informed by many years of coding. (I think of embodied algorithms when holding a pencil/paintbrush.) I do not aspire to align myself with any single creative/aesthetic/art historical tradition. Yet, I deeply appreciate craft and visual literacy and also disruptive technologies.’ 

With an eclectic background combining studio arts and computer science, Ira Greenberg has been a painter, 2D and 3D animator, print designer, web and interactive designer/developer, programmer, art director, creative director, managing director, art and computer science professor, and author. He wrote the first major language reference on the Processing programming language, Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art, (Berkeley, CA: friends of ED, 2007) and two subsequent creative coding texts. Greenberg holds a B.F.A. from Cornell University and a M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Greenberg has steadily exhibited his work, consulted within industry and lectured widely throughout his career. He was affiliated with the Bowery Gallery in New York City, Flywheel Gallery in Piermont, NY, and is currently a member of Strata Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. He was a managing director and creative director for H2O Associates in New York’s Silicon Alley, where he helped build a new media division during the golden days of the dot-com boom and then bust, barely parachuting back to safety in the ivory tower. Since then, he has been inciting students to create inspirational new media art, lecturing and holding residencies at numerous institutions, including Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland); University of Edinburgh (UK); University of Iowa; University of Northern Iowa; Seton Hall University; Monmouth University; University of California, Santa Barbara; Kutztown University; Moravian College; Northampton Community College’s Digital Art Institute; Lafayette College; Lehigh University; the Art Institute of Seattle; Studio Art Centers International (Florence, Italy); and the City and Guilds of London Art School (UK).

Currently, Greenberg is Director of the Center of Creative Computation and Professor at SMU, with a joint appointment in the Meadows School of the Arts and the Lyle School of Engineering. Previously, he was Associate Professor at Miami University (Ohio), where he held a joint appointment within the School of Fine Arts and Interactive Media Studies program and was an affiliate member of the Department of Computer Science and Systems Analysis.

Greenberg splits his time between Santa Fe and Dallas with his wife, Robin; son, Ian; daughter, Sophie; their Zen warrior dogs, Kai and Tessie; and horse Finn. When not sitting aimlessly in front of his laptop, you can usually find him on one of his bikes or getting checked against the boards at an ice rink in Santa Fe or North Texas.

Recent Work

Creative Research

Greenberg’s research and teaching interests include generative NFT's, drawing and painting, aesthetics and computation, expressive programming, emergent forms, net-based art, artificial intelligence (and stupidity), physical computing and computer art pedagogy (and anything else that avoids meetings). One of his guilty pleasures is torturing defenseless arts and humanities students with trigonometry, algorithms and object-oriented programming.


Processing: Creative Coding and Generative Art in Processing 2 (Greenberg, Xu, Kumar, Berkeley, CA: friends of ED, 2013) is designed for independent learning and also as a primary text for an introductory computing class. Based on research funded by the National Science Foundation, this book brings together some of the most engaging and successful approaches from the digital arts and computer science classrooms.

The Essential Guide to Processing for Flash Developers (Berkeley, CA: friends of ED, 2009) This is the first book comparing Processing to Adobe Flash/Actionscript. Intended for experienced creative coders, the book explores intermediate coding principals, including character animation, artificial life, particle dynamics, AI in gaming and 3D visualization. In addition the book explores the bridge between Processing and Java.

Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art (Berkeley, CA: friends of ED, 2007) Processing is a revolutionary open source programming language and environment designed to bridge the gap between programming and art, allowing artists to learn programming fundamentals as easily as possible, and programmers to produce beautiful creations using math patterns. It provides an accessible alternative to using Flash for creative coding and computational art.


Primary Investigator, 2013-2016 NSF, TUES Phase 2, S-STEM: SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH, Creative Computation in the Context of Art and Visual Media, $165,935. Funded.

Primary Investigator, 2009-2012 NSF, SIGCEE: CCLI-Type 1 (Exploratory), S-STEM: SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH, A Visual Portfolio - based Approach to CS1 using Processing, $90,000. Funded.

Ira Greenberg