The Making of Deziris — June 8, 2012
I began creating Deziris in early February, and worked on it off and on for almost four months before finally arriving at the finished work.
When I looked back on all the versions I saved along the way, I thought they would make an interesting video journal of my creative process. I did this once before with Under the Canopy and it was quite easy to put together. This time I got more ambitious, and the project grew and grew (and got completely out of hand) -- rather like kudzu.
At first I was just going to assemble the same kind of simple slideshow of the several dozen versions that I saved on the way to creating the final image. Then, because the tangents were somewhat disconnected, I fabricated some intermediary frames to make the transitions smoother and the overall effect more eloquent. I added some lovely ambient music by Bruno Sanfilippo, and then considered annotating the slides with text, except that there were so many and they faded too quickly for the viewer to both look at the image and read even brief comments.
The next option was to record a narrative, which came with its own challenges and obsessive/compulsiveness. I learned a lot, and I'm very pleased with some of the nuances in how the music, images, and even my narration interact. The end result is still not flawless, and I'm clearly not going to have a career in voiceover work, but I really need to get on with my life and tackle some of the many other projects on my list.
I hope you enjoy it!
Amazing detail to explore! — June 17, 2010
I've been intrigued for some time by Kerry Mitchell's Rotated Newton images (see the first five images in his Gallery 19, as well as Amoebae, Fire Dance and You and I in Gallery 21). While Kerry is unquestionably the master of this formula, I was inspired by his recent Giant Steps image to play around once again in his world.
The formula is challenging to work with because what you see in Ultra Fractal during the creation process barely resembles the degree of intricacy that this formula will produce in the finished render. For instance, here's what I saw in UF:
Compare the above with the two rendered versions below.
The difference between these two renders comes from varying the number of iterations performed. The glorious fractal structure in each is the result of substantial anti-aliasing during the render process:
I like both of these versions for different reasons. The stark contrast of light and dark tones in the first is quite striking, while the second contains amazingly detailed fractal structure. I was unwilling to select one version over the other, so my next thought was to try to combine the best qualities of each into a single image. Not only did I arrive at a happy compromise, I wanted to create a very large render that would reveal the marvelous depth of fractal structure.
The first 144+ hour render revealed a tiny but unforgiveable error in my method of merging the two images. Once fixed, I waited another 6 days to get the final version of Sixtene:
I have uploaded a high resolution render that can be explored in depth (much like zooming into Google Earth) here. Enjoy!
Merge mode: Dance — May 30, 2010
About six weeks ago, I had the idea to merge the two artistic passions of my life into one project -- a ballet about the iterations and relationships of my life, costumed with my fractal art printed on fabric. The choreographic process probably deserves its own blog entry, so I'll focus first on the costume/art element.
I've experimented with having my art printed on fabric at Spoonflower and thought of the possibility of using the different panels of this triptych:
as the basis for my ballet's costumes. The soft, painterly, oogey quality of the fractal's coloring seemed a natural fit for the music I had chosen and the style of contemporary movement I would be using.
I spoke with Ballet Memphis' resident costume designer, Bruce Bui, about my ideas. I showed him a print of the original art, plus expanded views of the three panels which gave us three complete, but differently-colored versions of the fractal structure:
Bruce made photocopies of these, and then cut them apart with scissors and applied them to sketches of the dancer's bodies to give us some idea of how each would look. Here are scans of his sketches:
Bruce explained that the areas of the fractal structure on the bodices would wrap around the torso, and be connected by illusion -- a stretch fabric that matches the dancers' skin. The hemlines of the skirts would be irregular, as well, following the crevices and curves of the fractal structure.
Bruce figured out what areas of the fractal would be used for each of the costumes, and to what scale those sections needed to be printed. I realized that where he was placing the circular skirt would require a bit more structure in each image than I had originally rendered. I was also concerned about the darkness of the original art and how it might print on the fabric, so I lightened and increased the saturation of the final versions I uploaded to Spoonflower.
To have the best drape and flow in the dresses, we chose Spoonflower's Organic Cotton Interlock Knit. Although it turned out to be a bit heavier and thicker than I imagined, the stretch and weight of the fabric worked very well in the finished costumes. And because the edges do not need to be finished, it was relatively easy to follow the design of the fractal for both the bodice and skirt sections.
Here are some photos of the finished costumes:
And finally, here are some excerpts of the ballet, through you so i, showing the costumes and art in action. The dancers are Kendall Britt, Crystal Brothers, Lana Muhlbach, and Rachel Shumake, of Ballet Memphis.