The sudden coincidence of art and fractals: a review of recent artworks

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boxFoldp2V3 eee2 by mclarekin (Fractalforums)

I’d given up blogging about fractal art and the sight of this image reinspired me.  It was the art, not the fractals.  It’s all geometry and nothing but geometry and yet there’s nothing square about it.  I don’t think mclarekin was trying to make anything great or revive my jaded sensibilities, so here is a fine example of what I love about fractal art: we often don’t know what we’ve captured.  We’re just as capable of underestimating its value as overestimating it.  “Making” fractal art is the first step in discovering it.  That’s how it works.  There are no artists.  Artists are the first members of the audience.

Everything in this image is working and active.  The whole thing’s alive.  It’s a symphony of color, shape and pattern.  There is nothing real and yet there is nothing abstract either.  Fractals are the twilight zone of art.

This next one is a little harder to explain…

(MB3D) ABox M-set Image Thread 4 by Anon (Fractalforums)

You’ve heard of Magic Realism in literature?  This is magic archeology.  The top one is a rare gold crown from the Incas which magically reassembles itself in a way which science has been unable to explain.  Note the teeth in the little faces which represent the gods that were believed to consume the sacrificial victims.  The bottom image looks like a tomb containing gold objects but is really a natural metallic crystalline growth that is hundreds of millions of years old and discovered in a silver mine.   Like I said, in fractal art not even the artist realizes what they’ve found.  It has to be taken to an expert who can properly assess its value and identify its origin.

We now leave Kansas and arrive in Oz…

Dmap Rr558 by blenqui (DeviantArt)

If I told you that this was a computer generated visualization of the standing wave structure of a hybridized Uranium 238 atom, would you be more interested or less?  This is what blenqui has created, although, like the others above, the artist is not fully aware of that yet.  Blenqui is one of the very few original artists in the fractal world.  If you don’t like his work, or at least find his work interesting, then you don’t really like fractal art, you only like fractals.

There a regions, states, phases and cross-sections to this image.  One travels and studies it; climbs and accesses it.  To speak of “appreciation” and “viewing” is to have seen it only in a postcard.  It’s an experience and you should have the expression and heart rate of someone who’s just gotten off a roller coaster when you speak of it, if you were really there yourself.

Here’s another…

Dmap nu216 by blenqui (DeviantArt)

Hmmn… it actually resembles one of those stand-up spinning rides that press you  against the outside wall with centrifugal force in which you can lift up your legs and not fall down.  The creativity in fractal art is self-propagating.

Note the fancy monochome world on the “tread of the tire” and compare it with the cellular cross-section style  of imagery on the “sidewalls”.  The color is retro and I believe the original upload image was a png (this is a jpeg) and it’s quite appropriate for the display of such high contrast imagery.  Of course, the two sets of imagery are created by the same, single structure which is merely displayed in two different planes (horizontal, vertical) and yet one plane gives birth to a nighttime scene of a desolate lake surrounded by glowing white trees while the other resembles a biology diagram of a hollow stemmed plant with large xylem tubes surrounded by smaller, phloem tubes.  How could anyone fully realize what this was when it was first picked up off the virtual ground?

Of Yonder by Platinus (DeviantArt)

You really need to click on this one and view it full-size.  It’s surreal.  The empty horizons and the convoluted worm hole stairwells in the “hills”.  The Underworlds are everywhere.  Not a single curved line that I can see and yet it’s a natural landscape.  Could even be Kansas on a surreal day.  Simple geometry but complex effect.  Sounds very fractal.

MyRohypnol by Wajakaa (DeviantArt)

I’m guessing this was made with Fractal Explorer or some other program of similar vintage.  One of the biggest mistakes in computer art is equating technological progress and development with better art.  More advanced fractal software simply makes more advance fractal graphics not necessarily more advanced art.  The wild comic book imagery of Wajakaa’s image here is a good example of that.

The lower regions by the memory by Wajakaa (DeviantArt)

Another visual amusement park ride.  The interplay between the overlapping patterns in these one-layer programs is often more sophisticated and more tasteful than the deliberate layering in multi-layered programs.  Fractal artists shouldn’t have too much say over what the image looks like.  Imagine how dull and predictable most natural landscapes would look if designed by a nature photographer.  In programs like Sterling or Tierazon, one can get lost for hours in these gritty and intense regions or crash scenes.

Thurfis by OttoMagusDigitalArt

How do we know this is “fractal”?  Or how about this question: How do we know this is “art”?  It’s easier to answer the art question.  Why is that?  Is it because “fractal” is actually a meaningless term?  Art on the other hand is a quality or attribute of the image and independent of the technical origins or pedigree of the imagery that forms it.

The colors are exquisite and the shapes multiply the effect.  Note the shadowing and how it accentuates the colored forms.  Made with Ultrafractal and possibly a rebuttal to my comment that multi-layering is usually second-rate to the mechanical single-layer processes.

Hexenfruit Stew by OttoMagusDigitalArt (DeviantArt)

This one really  needs to be viewed full-size to get the subtle texture effect.  I want to retitle this one: Thoughts Found in Ice.  Very creative use of realistic as well as abstract rendering effects.  Layering can easily produce that sort of hybridized style.  In fact, layering is almost a whole new creative process in which fractal formula renderings are just the raw material.  Does this image fit with anyone’s idea of fractal art?  It’s great to see something new and different and this is also good as well.

Here’s something much older: