Do you like fractals? Do you like Art? How about fractal art?

May 26, 2007 | By | 15 Replies More

Dive in at Enchgallery.  You could spend quite a while at this site taking in the fractal sites.   Those fractals are common in nature, there is something other-worldly about these works of art.


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Category: Art, Web Site

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (15)

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    But is it art, or are they merely glorified Spirograph drawings?

  2. gatomjp says:

    grumpy, is it art to you? Do you find them beautiful?

  3. grumpypilgrim says:

    Define beauty.

  4. Ben says:

    Beauty = God

    does that help?

    Actually, it is art. It is beautiful. It is sort of like comparing a marathon runner to a bicycle rider. They both go fast, but one uses different tools than the other. Or like an athlete who decides to use steroids. Its only cheating if you define it as cheating before the competition begins, right? Maybe you could say it is watered-down beauty? Or magnified beauty? Please do not answer my questions with more questions. That would be rude?

  5. gatomjp says:

    "Define beauty."

    I know where you are going with this. You are trying to get me to define the indefinable. The question I put to you was "Do YOU find these beautiful?" Whatever definition I come up with shouldn't matter to your appreciation of these images but I'll try anyway knowing full well that you are planning to pick my definition apart.

    A good general definition is that beauty is that which appeals to the human brain's sense of proportion, contrast and balance, but it also must have points of interest and meaning. These concepts are highly subjective and can be influenced by factors such as age and culture.

    I'll anticipate your next question. What is art? Art is anything that humans put in a "frame" and say to other humans, "Hey, look at this!" That's not to say that everything that we put on display is good art, but it is the process of deciding what goes in the frame that is the definition of making some "thing" into art. Its quality is then up for debate by the rest of us humans.

    By my definition these image are art…but are they good? And so I put it to you again, do you find these beautiful (i.e. good art) and if not, why not? (I assume that you do not because of the disparaging Spirograph comment, but I could be wrong.)

  6. grumpypilgrim says:

    "Beauty = God

    does that help?"

    LOL! Of course not, Ben, that's nonsense talk and you should know that by now.

    Also, the reason I answered your question with more questions is because that's what *you* did in your first comment.

    Please try again to address my first question.

  7. gatomjp says:

    No grumpy, Ben didn't answer your question with a question, I did. And now I think I've addressed your first question so it's your turn.

  8. Ben says:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Indeed I was just kidding about the questions and the God equals beauty thing. Anything you say is still music to me Grumpy (except deer pistols, of course).

  9. gatomjp says:

    Hey grumpy, are you not interested in discussing the fractal art or did you miss my post to you? (The one above where I attempt to define beauty.) I was very interested in discovering what you really thought about the art because of your Spirograph comment. (I loved that toy! Maybe that why I like this art!) If the topic bores you or you don't care to discuss, that's fine of course.

  10. grumpypilgrim says:

    Sorry for not responding sooner, gatomjp, but I am occupied with many other things at the moment.

    I consider most of the fractal art on that website to be little more than glorified Spirograph drawings, and I would call those works neither art nor beautiful. A few do have striking compositional qualities, and a very few might even lay claim to being beautiful, in much the same way photomicrographs of bacteria or rock crystals can be pleasing to the eye — assuming our definition of beauty includes things that please the eye.

    But is it art? There's the rub. Where should we set the bar? If art is to be merely decorative, then certainly some, perhaps even many, of those fractal images would be art. But if art should be more than that — if it should elevate the spirit, expose some feelings of the artist, illustrate some principle or problem of society, illuminate the human condition, etc. — then I think we must search hard to find art amid those images.

  11. Erika Price says:

    Then, grumpy, I feel your position begs the question: does something have to qualify as "art" to have beauty? What about naturally occuring beauty that has no artistic intent behind it (except of course to those who believe in creationism)? I don't just mean things like flowers or sunsets, the kind of simple collections of pretty colors that many people sigh fondly at, but photographs of galaxies and planets, rock crystals (which you mentioned) and the earth itself? These things have complexity and detail, and most people would consider them beautiful, but they have none of your characteristics of "art". You say that some of these look pleasing, but you still don't even consider them "beautiful". The glorified spirographs don't qualify as art, I'll give you that, but does beauty have a set of criteria to meet, too? What would you designate the criteria for something to qualify as "beautiful", or even "pretty"?

  12. Dan Klarmann says:

    Art may be the selection and presentation of a section of an automatically generated image. Art is essentially communication. If the image presented by one person evokes something in another, then the presentation of it is Art.


  13. gatomjp says:

    Because no one can ever agree on what art is, the definition for it must be broad and is often misunderstood.

    The act of the presentation itself is the act of creating art. Whenever one human says to another, "Look what I have made (or found)" s/he is creating art. Because of the subjective nature of the appreciation of that art, it is not for us to decide what is art and what isn't. However, we can decide what is good art and what is bad, to a certain extent. There are critera for the evaluation of art, to be sure.

    Whether good or bad, I would guess that some of the resistance to the fractal art is that it is non-representational, i.e. abstract. The debate between the lovers of abstraction and the “What’s it supposed to BE?” school is never ending and I won't address that here. (Artists themselves rarely have that debate because they realize that all art is an abstraction of reality.)

    Another criticism I have heard of art like this is that its swirls and convolutions are an imitation of natural processes using mathematical equations and therefore technically not created by the artist. Well, the objects in this image gallery were not created by the artist either…

    She merely pointed her camera at a plant and pushed a button. Why should she take credit for creating art?

    Take a look at this one (the picture of the month)…

    It's swirls and convolutions are eerily reminiscent of the fractal art, yet there are few that would deny that this is good fine arts photgraphy.

    Once again, the photographer had nothing to do with the creation of the flower, so why is it art? It's art because of the "frame". It's art because the artist carefully chose what to show us and what not to show us. That is the essence of art. It is the conscious decision to present some things for our scrutiny and not others. Art is in the editing. With the entire universe to choose from, Frank Zipperer picked this small bit of it for us to examine. It is art simply because of that action and it is good art because it has qualities that make good art…composition, contrast, balance and interest.

    Now look at this one…

    It is both a nature photograph and an abstraction of nature and comes even closer to looking like the fractal art!

    So why single out fractal art as "not art"? Because it is created on a computer? A computer is a tool, just like the camera is a tool. (It took a long time for photography to be considered art.) Even if the fractals are randomly generated the artist must decide which images are worthy of presentation and how to crop them. This is no small feat to do well and once again is the essence of art.

    I am not trying to convince anyone that the fractals are beautiful. You either like 'em for you don't. I'm merely arguing for their inclusion in that category of thing we call "art" and possibly have those who dismiss them give them a fresh look.

  14. Roger says:

    for some reason when i look at certain fractals , i feel my brain relax
    Is that normal.

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