In a country that prizes consumerism über alles, and a culture that defines success strictly by the amount of money one makes, is it really such a big surprise that the first thing to go in the primary schools are the art programs? I mean, how many parents dream of their kids becoming starving artists?
I always had a yearning to be creative. I loved to take photographs and even took a class or two in college, but I wouldn’t say I reached a professional level by any stretch of the imagination. I also did various crafts, such as cross stitch and embroidery, but I never immersed myself in the greater artistic world. It would not have occurred to me to do so. I was too busy trying to be the perfect straight A student. The academic world came easily to me. It was cut and dried. Learn these facts. Regurgitate them at test time. Get an A. Simple, as far as I was concerned. Art would have posed more of a challenge. It would have been open to interpretation. I would have been vulnerable. So artistic endeavors fell by the wayside and were more or less forgotten by me for 40 years.
I can tell you the exact day that all of that changed. On February 2nd, 2004, I logged in to my computer and up popped the Google home page. Their logo was altered for the day, as it often is. This day it was dedicated to Gaston Julia’s 111th birthday, and the whole image was encrusted with fractals and mathematical symbols (http://www.google.com/doodles/gaston-julias-111th-birthday ). I had never heard of a fractal, so naturally I was intrigued. I learned that Gaston Julia was a mathematician who came up with the formula for the Julia set, and that was the birth of fractal art. A mathematician who created an art form? How cool is that?
I’d love to say that I became a full blown artist from that day forward, but things like that only happen in Hollywood. Actually, what happened was I began looking at and collecting fractal images. This went on until 2007, when I discovered fractal software and started playing around with in in a rudimentary way. Here is one of my first fractals.
Even then, though, I doubt I would have pursued it in depth, except for another coincidence. I joined the virtual world called Second Life ( www.secondlife.com ). It’s a lot easier to be confident when hiding behind a gorgeous avatar, believe you me. After a few months of making friends and learning not to walk into walls, I came across a notice for a virtual gallery that was calling for new artists, and I thought, “What have I got to lose?” So I submitted some of my fractals, and much to my shock and delight, they decided to display my work! What a rush!
From there, I was unstoppable. I began to produce more and more fractals, and they have become ever more sophisticated. I have displayed my work in dozens of galleries in Second Life,
and have even begun to sell my work in the real world, in the form of mugs, posters, cards, puzzles, and this year, for the first time, a fractal calendar! ( http://www.zazzle.com/fractal_calendar_2013-158324473116307597 )And I feel like a part of my life, which had been missing for so long that I didn’t even realize it, is now living, breathing, and thriving.
What does the future hold? Some day I want to learn to paint. Never pass up an opportunity to be creative. You never know where it may lead.
More of my fractals can be seen below.