Fractal Art consists primarily of mathematically-inspired, computer generated, abstract images that, in a very powerful way, are reflecting the beauty and intensity of mathematics, a facet that’s often overshadowed by the subject’s dry analyses and formulas.
Fractal Art images are generated by using fractals, and fractals are generated by repeatedly iterating a simple formula that uses complex numbers, meaning numbers that include 2 parts that correspond to a computer screen’s two dimensions.
These fractal images can be identified by their own characteristic pattern which is repeated at different scales all through the image. Fractals also come with the property that, in a mathematical sense, they are having infinite detail, meaning that you could zoom endlessly (sure, as far as your computer allows you to) into a fractal that will not change the structure.
These two features (the repeating pattern and infinite detail), make that fractals are used to picture to model various natural phenomena. There are people, and I am one, who find them very interesting.
Fractals, just like photographs, are depicting already existing objective realities. Computers perform, in a way the artist directs, all necessary calculations to transform fractals from their original, native form (which is a mathematical formula) into shapes visible to our eyes, though this process has very little or nothing to do with art or aesthetics.
Fractal art cannot by a computer alone, and it is also not something that anybody who just has a computer can do. Instead, a work of fractal art’s artistic value is linked with an artist and his or her creative process in an inextricable way.
The thoughtful manipulation and selection of coloring gradients and algorithms are giving color, lighting, texture, and shape to fractal structures. Choices regarding cropping and zooming of the composition, and merging multiple layers together of various fractal elements, are highly specialized techniques that require determination and devotion. These are the processes that will transform intriguing, yet lifeless, fractal shapes into finished works that are expressing an artist’s vision in a creative process.
To be able to turn these fractal images into works of art, I’m combining them in a process of layering which allows shapes and colors to interact and merge in an often interesting way. When I’m in the process of creating, I’m envisioning every image already as a part of layers of fractals, so they will all contribute to the color, light, shadow, texture, and shape, of the work.
Now how can you make art from solely mathematical formulas?
When fractal artists are displaying their art at art shows and in galleries, they often are asked to come up with more detailed descriptions of how their art is made if they only use mathematical formulas. Doesn’t that mean that the artist didn’t take any photographs or make drawings to manipulate them in some way?
Well, usually I explain very patiently that in general, my artwork is entirely made by using mathematical formulas. Then, of course, they all want to know how that is possible, but as most people have little or no experience with mathematics, it is pretty difficult to explain it’s difficult how these processes take place.
The fact that there is no similar art technique is the problem. There is no ordinary or simple mathematical application that we can use to make an understandable or reasonable analogy. Just like with all brand new things, without seeing an analogy, or without the possibility to see the process happening, it’s pretty difficult or impossible to grasp something that we’ve never seen or experienced before. Even if you would be able to see every step of me creating an image, you would still not get a clear idea of what was happening.
After much frustration and lengthy explanations, I usually start to explain that everything starts with pictures and ideas that everybody is familiar with and that, though the analogy isn’t that accurate, later the process changes into more precise and difficult techniques.
First, my explanation will continue, I start from the idea that a math equation may very well be used to draw or describe simple or basic geometric shapes like polygons, circles, or spirals, as most people had some sort of experience with that at school. So I tell them I start with a gently-curling, simple. spiral shape to develop my works of art.