Fractal Art, Phase Two

Bold, new, full-color, fractal art

What? You didn’t know even know there was a Phase One? Well, let me begin there, then. At the dawn of fractal art.Phase One, the first stage of fractal art, has been oriented around software. The big developments in fractal art came from developments in the software that made it. True color fractals were a big development in fractal art over the more primitive, 256 color fractals.

More primitive? See, I’m talking like a phase one fractal artist. Good art, or even great art, can be made with 256 color fractal programs. In the same way, bad art or even awful art, can be made with true color fractal programs. Who cares how many colors your program uses? Or more to the point: who cares how many colors your artwork has in it?

That’s the essence of Phase Two thinking. And it’s all about thinking /perspective /approach. Phase Two fractal art focuses on the image and not how it was made. Perhaps in Phase Two fractal art the word “fractal” is no longer relevant because the word fractal only has meaning if the artwork exhibits a fractal appearance. Images made from details of fractals or images processed with filters are really derivative works and whether one wants to call them fractal art is really a pointless matter and unresolvable argument.  And Phase Two artists don’t care anyway how an image was made. Whether it has that parameter file pedigree or not isn’t as important as whether or not it’s…

Art. Yes, that’s where I see fractal art going. Taking an artistic approach and evaluating the image rather than the software that makes it, is an instinctive next step. It’s instinctive I think because that’s how art has always been viewed and evaluated. No serious critic ever categorized oil paintings by what kind of paint brushes they were made with or whether they were painted by men or women. Or by nationality?  Is it American Art?

Art is studied, viewed, collected, practised, and criticized according to the style of artwork — what it looks like. That’s how things will be, and even already have started to be, in phase two of fractal art. I’ve groused about Ultra Fractal, but really what I was criticizing was the excessive layering and masking of fractals. That’s what most people do with Ultra Fractal and that’s why most of what is made with it is so boring. But there are others who use Ultra Fractal for very, very different things and they use layering as an algorithmic tool rather than a way to apply make-up to fractals. The program is as advanced or as primitive as the images one makes with it. In fact, the program is irrelevant; it’s the artwork that’s important.

Phase Two thinking says, “If this image was a painting, what style of art would you say it most closely resembles?” Phase Two thinking calls fractal art that looks nice but lacks expression to be Decorative Art. It calls fractal art that evokes feeling, emotion or vivid thoughts to be Abstract Expressionism. Phase Two thinking enters fractal art through the art door and not the math door. Phase Two speaks respectfully to the Rocket Scientists but explains that beauty, while taking many forms, is the only parameter in art.
Jackson Pollock is the true father of fractal art (even if his drip paintings aren’t fractal). Benoit Mandelbrot is the father of fractal software. This is the Phase Two perspective. Pollock said, “It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said.” Phase Two listens to the art, not the artist.

In Phase Two we don’t call it art until we hear it speak.

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3 thoughts on “Fractal Art, Phase Two

  1. For me, fractal art must have fractal elements. By fractal elements I mean primarily self similarity at many levels. This would typically manifest as spirals, repeated or nested shapes and so on. The sample image you posted is a lovely image but does not have much of what I would call fractal elements. I would call it algorithmic/digital art, not fractal art. I don't think something is fractal art merely because a fractal program was used to create it. Of course opinions will vary.

    As far as UF layering, it's a technique just like any other–it allows more color and depth in an image, which fits with my style. It is not intrinsically bad. My pure UF images average from 5 to 15 layers.

  2. What you call like "phase two" will only be possible when fractal artists leave the vain belief that the purpose of art is only to produce beautiful visual works. The beauty as the first step to accomplish the medium is understandable , because the initial challenge was to produce art works from mathematical elements. So, was needed to know if could be possible to produce visual objects with a greater aesthetic value than mere representation of its mathematical nature. It was also necessary to know whether was possible to identify some "truth", something that could establish a deeper bond with thoughts and feelings.

    Thus, almost without being noticed, that intention of create objects with aesthetic value introduced the first major difficulty or contradiction in the fractal works: if was not possible to create them on realistic traditional ways, with the use of perspective, with forms borrowed from nature and with natural colors, how then assume that fractal can express the neatly integrated world and reality as "natural, beautiful and known," like art until the nineteenth century had shown?

    Under such a round of circunstances the beauty as it was tradicionally known is not possible – is not even possible to assure there is some beauty there!

    We face a huge challenge: to determine once and for all that the beauty of the world does not matter. That is, what is in the image is not what counts but, paradoxically, what the image does not represent – the absence of reality – is what must interests us. The problem for artists is… – What to do to give a meaning to such a thing? Well, this is also a big issue for all modern art: it is no longer making art what matters, but to say what art is what counts.

    I want to finish with an edition of few sentences taken from the introductory pages of Arthur C. Danto´s The Madonna of the Future, telling how he does his art critic work: “In general what I undertake to do in these reviwes is to describe what the work is about – what it means – and how this meaning is embodied in the work (…) the being of a work of art is its meaning. Art is a mode of thought and experiencing art consists of thought engaging with thought. It is, I suppose, possibily to treat a work of art as a mere thing to gratify the eyes (…) but even the most optically engaging art is a vehicle of meaning, wich has to be unpacked to do more by way of criticism tham simply to express one´s pleasure in it.”

    Art is meaning!

  3. Actually, it's quite normal to categorize art by nationality and things like that. American Impressionism is different than French Impressionism. There have been many books, articles, and gallery shows focusing on art made by women, or art made by gay men, or art made by people with no formal training. Art historians love to categorize and sort things like that.

    As for which brush was used, that's more usually a means of distinguishing one painter from another. "Artist A uses loose, open brushwork in his portraits, while Artist B has a smoothly-blended style."

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