Hi, my name’s Suzyfrak745632

My latest paradigm shift: The online fractal “art” world is primarily a social network where one’s “art” is used to gain admission to, and build a network of friends. My impression is that something like 90% of all the fractal “art” activity online is little more than an attempt to participate in a social scene and not a serious interest in fractal art as one would suppose it to be.

If you want to join a motorcycle club, you’ve got to have a motorcycle. If you want to join a fractal “club”, you’ve got to have some fractals. It’s Facebook with fractals.

This is not a criticism of the fractal art world exclusively. I suspect that this sort of “social-hobby” mingling goes on in many places on the internet and has in fact gone on in the past for centuries in the form of cultural clubs formed around various ideological, literary or artistic themes. The internet however, has enabled it to take a quantum leap creating communities where art (or whatever the original theme was) takes on a token role, conveniently disguising groups that engage in idle chit chat and gossip as “art” communities.

What lead me to such a conclusion was a perennial question that for years kept puzzling me: “Why is art on the internet so boring?”. And this one: “How can there be so many people displaying art online and yet there be less creative output than one of my high school art classes?”.

I think this aspect of the online fractal art world has been misunderstood and its inclusion under the label of fractal art has diluted and devalued the whole genre — in the eyes of those who don’t see it for what it really is. Once the Fractalbook crowd is factored out, I think the remaining handful of artists, styles and opinions is much more easily understood and will take on a greater and more progressive influence.

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4 thoughts on “Fractalbook

  1. Am I the only one reading this blog? Oh well, here I go again…

    Agreed. Agreed. But do you not think that it is somehow wonderful that people can create and share images that touch them, whether or not those images happen to be world-class…?

    I for one never assumed that all the activity on Renderosity or Deviantart has anything to do with “serious” fractal art, just as I don’t expect the snaps posted on Flickr or Photosig to be earthshaking examples of cutting-edge photography (whatever that is).

    Certainly mediocrity has been around as long as excellence, and I would venture to say that the former has always heavily outweighed the latter. For every Jascha Heifetz or Yehudi Menuhin there are thousands upon thousands of aspiring violinists sawing laboriously through Paganini caprices. History mercifully filters these people from memory, giving the impression that at some glorious time in the past only geniuses existed in their chosen field.

    Do you consider that such musical attempts such as those described above somehow devalue and dilute violin playing in general? Just the opposite: I suggest that in any field of endeavor the paradigm is a pyramid, with a few stellar individuals at the top supported by an increasingly large group of increasingly mediocre purveyors of the craft. The majority familiarize the public with the genre, after which the few exceptional individuals can shine.

    Of course there is the danger that if the general audience sees only mediocre work they will conclude that the whole genre is worthless, but is that really worse than them not seeing anything at all?

    As far as art being boring on the internet goes: yes, I agree. But I believe that to a great extent that can attributed to a couple of factors.

    First is presentation: a computer monitor is not the best possible way to view art: Go to the Rijksmuseum and stand before “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt and it is a *totally* different experience that looking at an 800×600 pixel representation on your flatscreen.

    Second, of course, is brother to what I described above; it becomes difficult and exhausting to sieve all the gravel searching for gems. But then the same could be said of blogs, right?

    So there you are with that famous double-edged sword. Perhaps the solution is to vigorously promote high-quality fractal art so those with an interest at least have a better chance of stumbling across it. Then the “art” communities can chit-chat as much as they want without sucking all the air out of the room for the “real” artists.


  2. Toby wonders:
    “Am I the only one reading this blog?”

    Not hardly. But you may be our biggest fan — or current troll — whichever you prefer.

    I base the latter deduction on the fact that your comments are becoming more than double the length of our original posts.

    You seem to have drifted from admiring compulsive reader and former resident troll, Ken, to now openly imitating him. Perhaps, like him, you might want to create your own blog — allowing you to expound without limits and to better and more fully document our many rhetorical atrocities.

    If nothing else, I hope you’re keeping a log of the many hours you spend composing for and posting to Orbit Trap to constantly remind us of our complete irrelevance.

    In fact, you are probably racking up overtime by now. But I’m sure your dedication to the war effort and unflinching loyalty will reap future perks. Why, if you’re lucky, there might even be a BMFAC judgeship in your future.


  3. Oh Terry, you are so sweet.

    If I am using up too much bandwidth here I could certainly post to Ken’s new blog. If you consider (I hope) thoughtful and polite responses to your posts as trolling then perhaps it is better that I leave you to your fate. I really don’t spend much time on these replies, just kind of throw them off the top of my head, with occasional reference to the internet. Quite fun actually. Well, I actually have to go do some work now, believe it or not, an early morning jaunt out to the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Sometimes I also cover important events ;-)


  4. Toby,

    Let’s cut through it.

    You completely missed Tim’s point. The problem with the Fractalbook people is not that their work is “mediocre”; it’s that their attitude is. They are primarily interested in socializing and not in art. They fall into a familiar pattern: they seek agreement — not discussion. They don’t contribute to the prominent, lower section of the pyramid you claim to value. In truth, they are nothing more than a large group of tourists standing around its base.

    But you aren’t so dense that you fail to comprehend the argument, so I have to believe your responses reflect deliberate behavior. People like you and Ken don’t show up here because you want to discuss ideas or hope to build a better community — like striving to have fractal art competitions run fairly and professionally. Your only intention is to repeatedly try to embarrass us by ridiculing our personalities. Ken, at least, I respect more for being up front when he reverts to form and calls us “overly stupid.” You, on the other hand, prefer a more passive-aggressive Dr. Phil approach — like spicing your insults with dashes of mock sympathy and touchy-feely psychobabble. Stop wasting your and our time — or, engage us in a more meaningful manner. As things stand now, we’ve already attained our inner epiphanies about the shamanistic truth of the current fractal art scene. And your comments, and those from others like you, always prodigally return to the same subtext: preserve the existing power structures at all costs.

    After all, it’s more fun to deride personalities and start gossip threads than it is to actually wrestle with ideas. And, as the judge/editor sweetheart deals surrounding BMFAC and the FU Calendar annually remind us, the status quo indeed serves a few fractal artists very very well.

    On second thought, maybe you should join Ken’s blog — or post on Keith MacKay’s blog where you’ve been a silent member for months. Find your inner sanctimoniousness. Push your smug self-satisfaction to its full potential. For all your glib talk about nobility, you’ve shown you have nothing constructive to contribute here. In the end, you’re just another troll.


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