Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hello (again) World

Don't know if anybody's still out there reading, but just in case...

This was a useful sketchbook in its time, and now I'm closing it and starting some new ones. Not thinking so much about Art (which still always makes me feel like I've crawled through a sewer pipe), or even just art (which is less overwhelmingly slimy).

Instead, I've been playing with toys. Got out the remaining pieces of my old Spirograph earlier this year, messed with them for a while, was given a much more deluxe Spirograph than I'd ever had as a kid, messed with that a whole bunch, and eventually decided it was time to learn how to get things laser-cut. So then I spent a couple of months designing my own version of a spirograph. I made the pieces bigger, and fixed some small problems with pen-hole-alignment that had always bugged me with the original. The process of laser fabrication opened up lots of really cool and exciting possibilities that I hadn't been expecting when I started out, so that's been fun.

It's still a work in progress, but the first three-fifths (of stage one) are available here: Velocipede's Cycloidal Scribbling-Engine.

Some pictures, Scribbling-Engine and otherwise, are available on Tumblr: mrvelocipede.tumblr.com. I've even been doing a few fractals again lately.

So that's where I am, if anyone's wondering. Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not known at this address

...Whereupon our correspondent disappeared from the internet without a trace, and was never seen or heard from again. Poof.

A large number of real-world complications have kept me away from posting, actually. And I'm increasingly dissatisfied with both fractals and art in general, which means that I'm not likely to come back to it anytime soon. At this stage of things, I can't really tell if I've given up in disgust, and am entirely done, or if it's just that I need a serious break after the relentless grind of school and the burst of activity that followed it. So I'm telling myself that this is a sabbatical. A sabbatical of indefinite duration.

And maybe eventually I'll start making pictures again.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hilarious is my middle name

It's probably a little early in the season for this, but there keep being delays and problems with the project I've been working on, so as a short break I've added a bunch of Valentine fractals to the gallery. There were a few there already, but I've discovered that I had a surprising number from way back when. I think they were mostly made for an e-card site that a friend of mine ran for a couple of years. And then, in opening and rendering the parameter sets, of course I ended up messing with them and making a few more.

The standard Valentine heart is such an iconic shape that it's tricky to put into fractals. It doesn't take very much distortion before it turns into a liver or a spleen or something instead. And it's kind of inherently cheesy and mawkish, full of memories of grade-school Valentine parties with messily hand-glued paper doilies and those chalky, inedible conversation hearts. Or worse, the high-school version, where you might actually hope for chocolates-and-flowers romance, and of course that doesn't happen so you wear all black and spend the day being sullen and everyone makes fun of you. Ahh, nostalgia.

These days I find that I quite enjoy the campy exuberance of sticking fat red cartoony hearts into my pictures. I tell myself that it's out of character, but I think I'm probably mistaken.

This one didn't make it onto the main gallery, though, because it turned out to be a little too foil-wrapped and sticky. So it's going in the sketchbook instead.

Harlequin Valentine

Friday, January 1, 2010

A project for the new year

The Professor and I have been writing code for several days now, and have gotten most of a very rough version of my Exciting Fractal Project assembled. It's almost far enough along that it could be considered alpha-test, though beta is still some ways off.

Having gotten this far, I am now reaching the stage where I start to completely panic and second-guess myself. What if this is a completely stupid idea? I ask. What if no one wants to play with my internet toy? And the huge, glaringly obvious question of How do I prevent this from turning into a horrible snake pit bunch of tedious longwinded squabbling?

Because the whole point of this thing I'm building is that it should be pleasantly entertaining (or indeed quite silly), and should provide a small, steady dose of interesting pictures and a small amount of feedback on same. I don't want to build it and then have it turn into either a sad ghost town or a battlefield. Neither of those is the kind of fun I'm interested in, so I'm struggling with questions of how much participation is enough for people to be interested, and how much is too much, and allows loud shouty people to just take over. I worry that what I'm planning is the equivalent of going down to the bus stop and inviting all the hobos (and that dude who appears to smoke crack every day at lunchtime) to come visit me for tea.

But at least I'm working on it! Progress is being made. This is me reminding myself to dive in, and worry about hypothetical stinging jellyfish later.