Friday, September 28, 2007

Grinding fish and scratching metal

Things are really pretty grim at school lately, but I'm trying to press on and get something done, and wait until later to worry about whether I like it or not. So I've been etching plates, and today I got as far as proofing two of them.

insomnia (2-plate proof)

Fractal etching (2-plate proof)

Hard-ground etching from two fractal layers (Perforated Julia, circle trap and pythagorean triple), 9" x 7".

I took some pictures of the plates, too, just because I like how they look.

Fractal printing plate

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I've been studying for my art history test, which means I'm looking at my expensive textbook for the first time since I bought it a year and a half ago, and I've found this very interesting picture:

God as architect of the world

This looks really impressively fractal to me. I'd heard about the Mandelbrot Monk a few years ago, and was entertained by it; I always like a well-done April Fools joke that's had some effort put into it. But this one's apparently from an illuminated Bible done in Paris around 1220 or 1230, so I guess it's legitimately medieval, even if it's not actually anything to do with fractals.

Of course it's not remotely related to the sections I'm supposed to be reading for the test tomorrow. So it goes.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Extreme low resolution

This is an experimental thing I did this afternoon. It worked well enough that I think I will try to do a larger one, with a more interesting design, as part of my printmaking project for this semester.

untitled (not there yet)

Reductive woodcut printed with water-based inks in five colors, 4-1/2"x3". A simple Mandelbrot zoom with iteration banding.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shiny knobs

There's no particular reason for this one, I just liked the colors.

untitled (jeweled array)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Getting back up to speed

After a fair amount of conversation with various teachers and friends, I think I'm beginning to recover from last week's unpleasantness. In an attempt to encourage myself, I've dug up an old image of energy and breakthrough. It's related to the one I posted just after the wretched meeting, so it's probably not a coincidence that I was thinking about it now.

Particle Accelerator

Seven layers of, hmm, Crystal Globe Julia. That's a good formula; I should explore it some more if I have time later in the week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Manifestos are for schmucks

What is your main message in 'Life, the Universe, and Everything'?

No message. If I'd wanted to write a message I'd have written a message. I wrote a book.
— Douglas Adams

A depressing meeting with the department chair today, about my independent study project. I wish I'd taken different things for him to look at, and I also wish I'd been able to explain to him that the short illustrated book which he dismissed as "whimsical" is also an observation about what it's like to have your life come apart in painful unexpected ways, and then to have your so-called friends refuse to acknowledge it.

In any case, I'm not convinced that whimsical is a bad thing.

The art world seems overly concerned with concept, and schools seem especially interested in how good you are at coming up with the concept ahead of time and then manufacturing some object or artwork to convey it to the public. Probably this is a good working system for some kinds of people, but in my experience it leads to stiff, forced, awkward pieces. I seem to be more successful if I encourage my brain to turn into warm mush while I'm actually making things, and worry about concept later. But it's no good trying to convince administrators that.

Revenge of the Tokyo Bubblegum Princess

This one is bubbly, giddy, cartoonish, and cute. But it's from a time in my life when I was very angry at someone who thought he didn't need to take me seriously as a human being, and so it's intended to have some undertones of radioactive menace, such that if you patronize it with baby-talk, it will smash your city.

Monday, September 10, 2007

And so it begins

Arrgh, I have two stressful project proposals to give tomorrow. I do not feel in any way prepared for either of them.

This soothing placid image I made a couple of days ago is not likely to be any help.

untitled (nacreous)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Orbiting thingummies

This one is for the Professor, and also for the new curtains.


A z3 mandelbrot, seven layers.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Run through the mangle

I wish these calculations had been performed by steam.
— Charles Babbage

I'm back to my ongoing theme of gears and machinery. And I'm also back to my ongoing theme of refraction spectra. Appropriately enough, I spent most of today being processed through bureaucratic machinery (grind grind crank crank arrgh), but ended up with a more-or-less positive result. Sometimes I feel that my imagery is altogether too simple and obvious.

Calculation by Steam

Frame-Robert formula. Nine layers, two of them masked.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Stumble the light

It seems as though the new department chair has some interest in digital printmaking, and the teacher of my printmaking class perhaps also. It may therefore be easier than I had thought, this business of doing fractals and school at the same time. Can I be brave enough to do it?

In the meantime, I'm experimenting with a newly-published coloring method with an entertaining name: Trap the Light Fantastic. I'm finding it frustrating, though. It seems potentially capable of making some interesting shapes, but there are vastly too many options, and no way of telling which of them will do anything worthwhile. So far I've spent an awful lot of hours just turning things into hideous static, passing through one or two almost-good effects on the way, and finally giving up without even saving the parameters.

I think I'm just somebody who likes to have really tight control over my tools all the time, and I don't enjoy the blindly-blundering-into-things approach. Perhaps I should try to lighten up, instead of always wanting to know exactly what is going to happen when I push the button. Or maybe it's just too big and unwieldy a coloring after all.

Anyway, here's one of the few things I did save.

City in a Bubble

Julia, with four layers of Trap the Light Fantastic.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Blue-green space

Back to school tomorrow, where everybody talks about societal significance and political awareness, diversity this and cultural that and environmental the-other-thing, post-post-modernism stuffed down your throat and in your ears and crammed into every possible orifice until it makes your eyes bleed.

Going back to school always makes me tense.

A fractal, before I disappear into the trackless wasteland of homework and projects and critiques. I don't know how much time I'll have to frivol away on pixels once things get started. The light in this one reminds me of the chilly filtered sunlight that happens in the downtown library, where the outside is glass, so it should be bright, only the ultraviolet is bad for the books, so the glass has some kind of coating that makes it all dim and strange and unpleasant. A library should be warm, and sepia-colored, and smell like the ink and dust of old books. This one is grey-green, and vast, and unwelcoming. I hear it has won awards.

Sustainable Architecture

Ploom formula, five layers of recycled pixels in the rain.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

In-flight entertainment

I'm back home after a brief trip to pick up the cat, now that we're moved into the new apartment. Twelve hours of traveling with a cat is a tiring ordeal, but she stayed remarkably calm and quiet during the whole thing.

I didn't bother getting a set of headphones on the plane, because the movie looked really lame, but after it was over there was some kind of brief documentary-looking thing about Tiffany glass. Even though I wasn't listening to the sound, the pictures were quite interesting. Some of those vases use the fluidity of glass in really lovely etherial ways.

I feel all out of practice again with the fractals. Here's one with glass in mind.


Generalized Celtic Julia formula, six layers.