Today, you can find hundreds of digital artists all across the world who are making art that is incorporating fractal elements, and all these artists come with their own styles. Just take a look how many fractal art examples are on Pinterest or check out this video:
While algorithmic art is objectively showing the mathematical or geometric structure in a highly pleasing aesthetic way, there are also fractal artists who are daring to take it all to the next level and use fractal elements in their artworks that are appealing in a subjective way to spectators’ emotions and feelings.
In this article, I review the styles of Kerry Mitchell, Mark Townsend, and Janet Parke, and you’ll notice that all three fractal artists come with their own recognizable and well-developed styles.
Over the last hundred years, fractals have been researched and studied by many mathematicians, but a 1985 article in Scientific American about the discoveries of Benoit Mandelbrot introduced fractal geometry to the general public. Early fractal researchers used either FracInt, a popular freeware program, or self-written programs for their studies, as they shared a fascination with the surprising complexity and self-similarity of the sets of Gaston Julia and Benoit Mandelbrot.
They were discovering forms and shapes that were, though sometimes familiar, almost outer-worldly and were generating numerous visually very interesting images. The development of various coloring algorithms and calculation formulas provided more and better creative controls to fractal explorers, and some enthusiasts started to regard and classify the provided fractal images as pieces of art.
XenoDream and Ultra Fractal are nice examples of recently developed software programs that are offering many versatile and powerful features like the option to combine or layer fractal elements allowing skilled artists to achieve striking effects.
Kerry Mitchell is actually the only artist reviewed here who has an extensive mathematical background, and his well-rounded understanding of elements included in fractal geometry is obviously a great asset to Kerry’s art. It is obvious that his inspiration is drawn from fractal structures themselves, as this shows in every facet of his works.
Most artists who have a primarily mathematical interest in fractals are creating emotionless and dry works of art, but Mitchell has a sense of artistry that is capturing a fractal structure’s intrinsic grace to elevate it to heavenly realms. Kerry’s coloring and handling of the fractal shapes gives his works a sort of spiritual feel.
Mark Townsend’s style is totally different from Kerry Mitchell’s fractal art. Mark has extensively worked with classical coloring algorithms and traditional fractal structures, but his artistic taste and fascination for formula writing quickly made that he started to explore less formal and rigid structures. Though some of Townsend’s earlier works are containing spirals, they’re practically always presented in a non-traditional way.
My style’s hallmark lies in the transformation of fractal elements into art by using a subtle color variation and my liking for texture. I started to add texture to my artwork to disguise the somewhat shiny-smoothness that often came with the first coloring algorithms that caused every image to have a more or less same look. At the moment I’m using texture to add interest and depth to my works, and for the creation of a sort of sensuous feel. In most of my works, fractal structure will still be visible, though it generally has a distortion from its original shape, or the texture partially obscures it.