Dan Wills: Fractal Columbus

halleyDetailTwoPointNine… by Dan Wills, 2008
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Like a needle in a haystack, or a glowing needle in a fractal formula, is the rumor of a continent over the horizon or the possibility of some new and intriguing fractal artwork out there, somewhere, on the internet.  My impression after browsing over Dan Wills’ Picasa web gallery is that he’s someone who excels in searching out new kinds of fractal imagery.

All done in Ultra Fractal, Dan’s artwork stands out from the usual UF type of artwork in it’s pure fractal simplicity.  This is fractal art in it’s most authentic and engaging presentation –snapshots from a New World.

butterflyPhoenixDoubleNova… by Dan Wills, 2008
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This second image I chose for it’s naturalistic look and for the subtle, but impressive coloring.  You can really see here the wide variety of fractal forms and seemingly endless unique details to be explored.  I don’t know why more UF artists don’t produce work like Dan has done here.  Maybe they need a Columbus to tell them it’s there first?  Well, let’s continue our voyage…

The next image I found to be really something worth writing home about.  It’s from his superpositions collection (the first one was from the ultraEpsilon, and the second from the butterflyLaces).  The hazy appearance to all the images like this one add a realistic touch, and in a 3D sort of way.  The Julia things look like they’ve been frozen into the larger fractal shapes.  It’s an interesting mix of what you’d expect to be very standard, even dull, fractal themes but yet the result is a new hybrid thing –a super positioning, as the gallery title suggests.

butterflyPhoenixDoubleNova by Dan Wills, 2007
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Is work like this too simple to be worth drawing people’s attention to?  Or, rather, is it too fractal for most people in the fractal world today?  We can add photo-imagery and luscious, de-luxious, rendering layers and create ever grander and more lavish recipes, but none of that beats plain old, hard-core, fundamentalist fractal imagery.  Why work like this has sat in obscurity like it has is yet another testimony to how new and still growing the fractal art form is.

butterflyPhoenixDoubleNova… by Dan Wills, 2008
-Click for larger view-

This one ought to be enough to start a whole new legend of El Dorado.  They’re out there.  Maybe you can track down Dan and beg him to give you a copy of his treasure map, that coveted parameter file, that made this image.  Nice coloring.  Subtle, but attractive and still natural looking.  Another good example of the complexity of “ordinary” fractal art.

I expect to see more work like this, simple and powerful —spawn of the math-machine– fractal wonders.  And it won’t be because it’s promoted or given Olympic gold medals.  More will be created because there’s plenty more New Worlds out there beyond the horizon and artists like Dan Wills and others will gladly go there, even in obscurity, and bring back snapshots to the Old World because it’s just a natural thing for them to do –-explore.  Fractal art is like that.

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2 thoughts on “Dan Wills: Fractal Columbus

  1. I totally agree with you, Tim A few weeks ago I saw some of his works and found the most compelling example of fractal art – saying better, of art created using fractals. He can produce a picture of corpuscular space that is extremely exciting to view. I think the physical structure of the space he produces is very innovative because it is not just the textures and colors and other established ways of perceiving space, but, more importan, he expands the concepts of representation and abstraction. It is a very serious work. It is a profound experience of space, a way to bring two, three or more dimensions simultaneously. In other words, we have an unprecedented (in fractal) experience, in order to capture an almost palpable optical impression. Very good

  2. Thanks for the great review Tim! I'm really chuffed that I managed to impress you, I know you have a keen and critical eye.

    I do feel very much like an explorer with my fractal work, many of my renders purely serve the purpose of being a map to see what areas to explore further.

    It does seem strange to me that most fractal artists stay in such standard safe areas (ie the 'outside' of sets) when there's incredible amounts of fractal structure in the lakes and at non-standard parameter values.

    I think that what's needed is patience and to be happy to jump into something that you initially can't make sense of, just to see what happens. Eventually you can learn genuinely new things by doing that.

    I also have this blog:


    Things are a bit more arranged by theme there and there's a bit of discussion on how these fractals are found.

    Thanks Guido too, I'm so glad that you find them exciting to view! I agree – sometimes there's a very visceral sensation almost like vertigo just from looking across them.

    I also get this urgent feeling of wanting to go in and look closer at so many things – that's what keeps me exploring so much I guess!

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