FUC Redux

Your decorative eye candy can once more be filled...

I’ve been reiterated from the undead.

[Image seen on Amazon.com.]

The Fractal Universe Calendar (FUC) returns with a makeover.

Previously put out by Avalanche Publishing, it is now under the aegis of Mosely Road Publishers which describes it as

full of the most visually arresting fractals.

Let’s see if you agree.  Here’s a sneak peak:


Fractal like it’s 1999.

[Image seen on calendars.com.]

Now, are you ready to hear a litany of complaints from me about the ethics of this venture.  Okay.  Here goes…

I don’t really have any.

That’s because my concerns about previous iterations of the FUC sprung from the manner in which it was administered.  The old FUC was clearly a competition, despite its organizers’ protests to the contrary, and one that too comfortably favored the work of present and former editors — sometimes to the tune of 40% of the selected material.  Editors were compensated by having their own work included — and then were allowed to send more of their own work on to the judges — who, oddly enough, were never identified.  In other words, the whole shebang was ethically suspect.

I have no idea how the new FUC is run, but I doubt it’s a contest.  There is absolutely no information on the web about any call for entries, rules, deadlines, and so forth.  In fact, other than a few retail-based references, the only other link to the new FUC I find is on silwanka’s deviantART page where she says she was "chosen" for this new calendar.  Therefore, I suspect the publisher directly contacted each of the included artists.

This is how the whole enterprise should have been run from the start.  As a commercial venture, calendar publishers want to sensibly make a profit and thus will likely select whatever work they believe will sell.  What they can’t do, ethically anyway, is run a thinly veiled contest that inordinately favors its own current and past administrators.

So I have no reason to question the ethics of new FUC.  But I do have a few observations.

* How can the new publishers use the same title for their calendar?  A quick glimpse at the old FUC page claims that the "Fractal Universe" name is a registered trademark.  Did Avalanche sell the rights to Mosely Road?  Or is there so little financially at stake here that Avalanche hasn’t bothered to challenge the trademark infringement?  Or is this a completely new venture — and no one apparently cares enough about the whole thing to be bothered by the appropriation?

* It’s nice to see a bit more variety in the selections — and to even find an Apophysis image on the cover.  Still, if you miss the eye candy laden aesthetic of the old FUC, you can always order the new Infinite Creations fractal calendar from Orange Circle Studio.  This is the old FUC in spirally spirit (if not name) and promises that

in this calendar, renowned fractal artists push their art to extremes and guide you on a journey through their infinite creations.

Who these "renowned fractal artists" are isn’t made clear from the promotional material.  Still, you can see thumbs of this more FUC than the new FUC calendar on my last FUC post.

* The fractal artists, renowned or otherwise, aren’t identified in promo stuff for the new FUC either.  But we are told that their work is "visually arresting."  And it is.  If you plunged into a fractal hot tub time machine and wormholed back about ten years.  To my eyes, these selections, with a few exceptions, look middlingly generic — and more likely to appear in a math textbook rather than a mass-marketed art artifact.

* It’s worth pinching yourself and explicitly noting that all of this work is in a calendar and not in a gallery.  Calendar.com tosses its fractal calendars into the "Fantasy Art" bin.  So, included "renowned artists," before your heads get too big, just remember that you’re rooming with unicorns, faeries, hobbits, dragons, wizards, elves, goddesses, shamans, muses, and pixies.  Does that elbow-rubbing ground you any?

* As for the question as to whether or not these commercial products — soon to be showcasing fractal art in bookstores and strip mall gift shops near you — is a fair, representative sampling of the artistic capabilities of our discipline is one I’ll leave for the blog’s readers to mull over.

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3 thoughts on “FUC Redux

  1. Wow….. I think i might agree with you here… that calendar sucks… the “method of deciding who gets the feature” clearly sounds like cheating… And what’s wrong with the publishers eyes? Even the “new” section on the dA fractal art gallery has better stuff to showcase… if that is “Extreme fractaling”, then what the hell am i doing?

    Anyhows, thanks for the update!

  2. It appears that 3 of those images are much more than 10 years old (I could have sworn I saw that Newton back in the late 80’s, the “banding” seems very familiar). If the actual images are new, the type and style of many are definitely not what would be considered as the “latest trend”.

    But there are two distinct features that make this version of the FUC more refreshing than the past years:
    • No overabundance of layering (if any at all).
    • Practically none of the overdone spirals.

    If it were not for a couple of the more recent IFS / Flame type fractals, I would think they had gone for a completely retro calendar (or were recycling an oldie from years past). Sometimes it is nice to be nostalgic.

  3. If the calendar wants to be a “fractal” calendar, it’s quite fair to have a plain old Mandebrot image there. If it wants to be a calendar, it could have some of the newest “tendencies” on fractals for that year.

    On the creativity side though it seems that most of these images came from random batches. One might say that the term “fractal artist” was pushed a bit too far because of that, but this is at times far more interesting than the old version. But from these few descriptions available, it seems they are not categorizing it as an “art” calendar. Yet.

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