The Fractal Art Manifesto (by Kerry Mitchell)|
a genre, Fractal Art (FA) has been around for approximately 15-20
years. Its first major public display may be considered to be an article
about the Mandelbrot Set published in "Scientific American" in 1985.
Since then, many advances have been made, both in fractal rendering
capabilities and in the understanding of fractal geometry. Perhaps now
is an opportune time to make a defining statement about what is (and what
is not) Fractal Art.
Fractal Art is a genre concerned with fractalsshapes or sets
characterized by self affinity (small portions of the image resemble the
overall shape) and an infinite amount of detail, at all scales. Fractals
are typically created on a digital computer, using an iterative numerical
process. Lately, images that are not technically fractals, but that share
the same basic generating technique and environment, have been welcomed
into the FA world.
Fractal Art is a subclass of two dimensional visual art, and is in many
respects similar to photographyanother art form which was greeted by
skepticism upon its arrival. Fractal images typically are manifested as
prints, bringing Fractal Artists into the company of painters,
photographers, and printmakers. Fractals exist natively as electronic
images. This is a format that traditional visual artists are quickly
embracing, bringing them into FA's digital realm.
Generating fractals can be an artistic endeavor, a mathematical pursuit,
or just a soothing diversion. However, FA is clearly distinguished from
other digital activities by what it is, and by what it is not.
| ||Computer(ized) Art, in the sense that the computer does all the work.
The work is executed on a computer, but only at the direction of the
artist. Turn a computer on and leave it alone for an hour. When you come
back, no art will have been generated.
Random, in the sense of stochastic, or lacking any rules. Being based
on mathematics, fractal rendering is the essence of determinism. Apply
the same image generation steps, and the same result will follow. Slight
changes in process usually lead to slight changes in product, making FA an
activity which can be learned, not a haphazard process of pushing buttons
and turning knobs.
Random, in the sense of unpredictable. Fractal Art, like any new
pursuit, will have aspects unknown to the novice, but familiar to the
master. Through experience and education, the techniques of FA can be
learned. As in painting or chess, the essentials are quickly grasped,
although they can take a lifetime to fully understand and control. Over
time, the joy of serendipitous discovery is replaced by the joy of
Something that anyone with a computer can do well. Anyone can pick up a
camera and take a snapshot. However, not just anyone can be an Ansel
Adams or an Annie Liebovitz. Anyone can take brush in hand and paint.
However, not just anyone can be a Georgia O'Keeffe or a Pablo Picasso.
Indeed, anyone with a computer can create fractal images, but not just
anyone will excel at creating Fractal Art.
Expressive. Through a painter's colors, a photographer's use of light
and shadow, or a dancer's movements, artists learn to express and evoke
all manner of ideas and emotions. Fractal Artists are no less capable of
using their medium as a similarly expressive language, as they are
equipped with all the essential tools of the traditional visual artist.
Creative. The final fractal image must be created, just as the
photograph or the painting. It can be created as a representational work,
and abstraction of the basic fractal form, or as a nonrepresentational
piece. The Fractal Artist begins with a blank "canvas", and creates an
image, bringing together the same basic elements of color, composition,
balance, etc., used by the traditional visual artist.
Requiring of input, effort, and intelligence. The Fractal Artist must
direct the assembly of the calculation formulas, mappings, coloring
schemes, palettes, and their requisite parameters. Each and every element
can and will be tweaked, adjusted, aligned, and re-tweaked in the effort
to find the right combination. The freedom to manipulate all these facets
of a fractal image brings with it the obligation to understand their use
and their effects. This understanding requires intelligence and
thoughtfulness from the Artist.
Most of all, Fractal Art is simply that which is created by Fractal