Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Anders Hoff

Anders Hoff

Artist, programmer

in artist, developer, linux, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm an artist who works with code, ink and paper. When I'm not making art, I work as a Software Engineer. Sometimes I do things related to Machine Learning.

It wasn't really my intention to become a programmer - or an artist - when I started studying mathematics (and physics) at Uni. I ended up taking a greater liking to the programming part than the mathematics, and here we are.

What hardware do you use?

My main workhorse is a desktop computer that I built some time ago. The goal was a combination of silence and performance. Highlights include a sound dampened tower (Fractal Design Define S, a surprisingly silent graphics card (MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X), an i7 processor, 32 GBs of RAM, and a 512 GB M.2 disk. At the moment I have a 30" Lenovo (LT3053p) monitor, which I'm very happy with. After trying an embarrassingly large number of keyboards, I'm currently using a Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge keyboard with a lift kit. Next to it is a Logitech MX Anywhere 2.

Music needs are covered by a Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus, and a pair of old Grado SR125s.

I have two EMSL Axidraws. An older A4 version, and a V3/A3. The Axidraws are excellent machines, and I can recommend them to anyone who wants to experiment with drawing machines.

Recently I also bought a 17" inkjet printer (Epson SC P800). Still in the process of working out how to get the results I want from it.

And what software?

My computer has dual boot with Windows 10 (out of necessity), and Ubuntu. Most of the time I don't need to start Windows at all. In Ubuntu I run AwesomeWM, and I pretty much live in the GNOME terminal.

For programming, I use a mixture of Common Lisp (SBCL), Python, and some JavaScript. The past few years I've been using Lisp almost exclusively when making art. It started as an experiment, where I wanted to learn something new. I ended up liking it quite a lot, and I've been using it since.

For version control I use Git, and I edit and write code in Neovim. Mostly stumbled into vim by accident, but now I can't use anything else.

I find Python very useful for making small utilities and tools. As an example here is a tool that makes file names based on the time and current git revision. And here is a tool for creating SVG files that can be plotted efficiently.

For quick image editing I use either Inkscape or GIMP. I also use Photoshop from time to time. Particularly when editing larger files, or when preparing for print.

What would be your dream setup?

I am fortunate enough to essentially have all the equipment and space I strictly speaking need. It would be amazing to have my own dedicated studio space, but my dream setup is more to do with time than space: I don't know what would happen if I suddenly had the opportunity to spend all my time and energy on art. I'd like to find out.

Uses This is supported by ZSA, makers of the Moonlander, ErgoDox EZ and Planck EZ keyboards. They also publish an awesome newsletter.