A Study in Pink & Yellow Marble

A Study in Pink & Yellow Marble

Apophysis 7x (R15), Un-Retouched

It’s like coming home…  It looks like you remember it, but feels just a little bit different.  Like things are sort of alien, out of place, not quite what you entirely remember of it.

That’s what it felt like loading up this program and rendering with it.

 

Ruminations from the Mad Scientist™

I have been an artist all of my life.  While I might not be the next Rembrandt or Picasso or Michelangelo, I have always felt that as long as my art brings just a little bit of happiness to someone’s life, then I’m content.  That my fulfilment comes from creating something that someone (anyone really) likes in one way or another is good enough for me.

While not actually painting, drawing, illuminating, sculpting, being a ceramicist/potter since leaving high school (having followed my path into computers after being introduced to them in high school and programming on the TRS-80), I continued to dabble when I could where I could and whenever I needed a creative outlet for whatever problem I had been working through at the time.  I remember being introduced to the first fractal making program back when I first owned a 386 computer in the early 90s. It worked on Mandelbrot’s main formula (with some added computations and variations), but it lacked the depth and resolution I had seen of CGI and technical effects I saw on the silver screen.  But it had promise as it was the first stages of programs for the home user to create works of art based on mathematics (something I was adept with), computers (which I had excelled in) and was a taste of things to come without the exorbitant price tag of some CGI programs on the market at the time…  I forgot about it  and programs like Bryce (and also Ray Dreams), focusing my attention on programs and mediums that furthered my skills in writing and socializing.

Then came the mid-to-late-90s.  A programmer from the UK created a program called Terragen that took the ideas from the more complex terrain and CGI programs on the market and allowed end-users to play with landscapes of their own and do so for cheap or free.  It allowed me to create landscapes near enough to what I saw on the Silver Screen and do so from the comfort of my home on my own computer and allowed me to produce something like this to wow friends and strangers alike while demonstrating both my inherent artistic abilities with how I harnessed the “magic” of computers:

Frost

More time passed: another decade in fact.  I stumbled across the program Chaoscope from one of the tech e-papers I used to read for work and after downloading it gave it a try..  It produced the exact qualities that I wanted to create: vibrant colors on a dark background and coupling it with mathematics, did so at speeds I had been accustomed when I had done speed sketches into my diary.  It also gave me the inspiration (and feeling) of when gods of lore harnessed the gases of the sun and infusing it in silicon, allowing me – a mere mortal – to create images of wonders to behold like this:

Taelon Life Pod

While Chaoscope had its potentials, it wasn’t quite for me.  It lacked the complexity that I was familiar with in database programming.  It also didn’t create imagery quite the way that I wanted:  taking up the majority (or the whole) of the monitor screen and do so in wondrous colors, shapes and patterns.  I kept at Chaoscope for as long as I could, until the day I had met Damion and he introduced me to Deviant Art.  That’s where on a random impulse, came across a piece of fractal art created by a program called Apophysis.  My fascination in that program started with this:

Prismagotronic Cloud

And the rest was – as we say – history.

Apophysis allowed me to combine the wild impulses of artistic creation, mathematics and programming.  It allowed me  the ability tinker and tweak the “guts” of the fractal (though the use of manipulating the “triangles” within the editor) until I was satisfied with what I was seeing; then to render what it was I wanted to share, and (in my hope) to confer the same feeling(s) to others I experienced in the creation of the piece:  the wonder that comes when maths are made into art.  Apophysis also opened up avenues that allowed me to marry an image created with words and apply it to an image of chaos made manifest, much like this one:

Spirit Day - A Message from a Survivor

And so, the Mad Scientist™ was born…  Well, he was already born…  This was the time the Mad Scientist™ matured into the adult.

And now for the change of direction (albeit briefly).

I have also been on the Internet since before its popularity with the home user.  A full decade before.  I remember the various poor man’s Internet — the BBS system — sharing files, and pictures and sounds and programs at a whopping 150 baud (to 300, to 2400 and on).  I remember finding the Internet when working at a college and keeping that account for as long as possible.  I remember and became familiar with Eudora, Gopher, Usenet and FTP.  I remember tools that helped convert binaries to text and back again.  I remember the birth of IRC and the World Wide Web.  I remember when businesses were introduced to CompuServe and the home users being introduced to Prodigy and AOL through GeoNet.  I remember the birth and death of Netscape (and rebirth to Firefox).  I’ve seen the gestation of social tools like MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ give birth to the social media explosion that brought us Deviant Art, Facebook, YouTube, and on and on and on…

I am one of the few ancients that continues to make his presence felt online — at least with this incarnation — since at least 1994.  Well that and still boast about being from the early days, anyway.   There are others, but I’ve learned they don’t admit it as quickly or as readily as I do (without prompting such as this).

From the two, I’ve learned interesting lessons in the creation of my art, it’s attraction of others that see (and even download) and occasionally the offers that I’m offered for showing a greater audience (and always graciously turn down because I feel it would take from artists that need that attention more than I would as this is only a hobby and a great experiment for me).

I had to take a walk to sort the next part out. There was an impact I was hoping to make and felt I wasn’t going to be making it the way that I wanted.  I couldn’t shake the feeling…  was the very thing I loathe seeing from “people” following my blog on WordPress (e.g., the Advertisers trying to sell their “wonderful” little-work-yet-great-return-so-you-can-live-the-good-life product) or worse, the pontificating fool…  The fact is, I’m not trying to sell anything.  I give away what I’ve learned freely and though one person did in fact sparked the muse that inspired me in this (yes, that’s you Mr. R.), it is in good spirits and in kind heart that perhaps something can be learned from it.  Both for the person that inspired me to make this post and anyone else wanting to use and utilize the tools we have today.

They’re sort of rules…  And by rules I mean guidelines.  The sort of guidelines that had been passed on to me, and passed on to everyone that has ever made anything for people to view, experience, witness, like and share within the community of artists, musicians, celebrities, bloggers, vloggers and those inspired by the energies that create harmony through conflict.  That create beauty from the chaos within and without.  That want to inspire in others the spark we all contain within ourselves.

1. Let your art sell itself.  The first and best way you can make an impact is releasing that art to the wild.  Be it to your followers, viewers, friends, to even the world at large…  Put it out there without excessive tease, preamble or long introduction.  Let the audience that it was shared with digest and decide for themselves whether to like share, comment, etc.*  If you feel the need to hint – and people often do – let the hint go free and don’t hint at it anymore.  When the time comes (and goes), release it.  Hint at something too much and you might end up giving impressions you’re more talk than action.  There’s some really interesting lessons to be said about this approach.  You get an idea on the audience you’re reaching whether you do your art for free (like I do) or making money off of it (like some professional artists that I know and follow.  For example, in six years I’ve learned that women tend to favorite/favor warmer colors in the fractal art that I create with men gravitating more toward the cooler colors…  Or my personal favorite…  What I personally didn’t like ends up getting a metric shit-ton more views than the piece that earned an award for production.  Some art that I personally put in hours of work ends up being completely ignored.  Others rush, loved, complimented, liked, downloaded.  It’s from this that I learned the public has its own tastes and drives and no matter how much you might want the public to like something you’re proud of, the public has whims and tastes of its own.

2. To sell your art, you need to sell yourself.  I learned this from my years on Deviant Art.   It’s not about sending up messages advertising, “hey, I put something out, check it out..”  No, it’s more about interacting with your community at large.  Someone’s having a problem and you have advice?  Share it!  You like something they produced be it friend and/or stranger?  Comment!  Someone did something you could only wish you could?  Congratulate them in their success (and don’t be afraid to ask for some advice)!  They failed or had difficulty in the production of their art?  Give advice and pointers on what you did to overcome the difficulty they faced in that art’s creation.  Be effervescent in all responses (as my mother and grandmother used to tell me, “you’ll attract more bees with honey than vinegar.”)   And always, always, always favorite/like the things that impacted you.  You’ll find people that you’ve been following, watching, even commenting once or twice to, coming to check out what it is you’re producing.  Make it feel like you’re part of the community at large.

3. Once you release your art let the social media in question work its “magic”.  I’m not talking about re-sharing a compliment that you got for something they listened to,  I’m talking about something said to me about having to repeat things already said because of fans and followers being in different time zones.  This is the internet…  In it we feel the closeness regardless of the distance and we as a whole are beginning to work out all the time zones one way or another because of those distances.  Every bit of social media I have and had ever utilized has the inherent ability to filter.  I missed/can’t see a comment from a circle of friends in Australia?  A click or two later, all the other conversations in my timeline disappear and their comments/conversations come bubbling to the top.  There they are, my friends in Australia are having a discussion on who’s got the best ass on screen.  Another click and my timeline returns to normal.**  Because the negative to this is if you find yourself having to reference the same piece time and again, you run the risk of alienating the very people would want to “sell” to or even could get you recognized.

** I’m finding that 5 years later I’m still getting saves (it’s like favorites/likes but for personal collections) for the piece that I received an award for on one site and still get offers on the various artwork that’s available for older work that can be found through WordPress, Deviant Art and even Flickr.  How?  They found it through my postings on Twitter, WordPress, Flickr and even Facebook.  Not because I repeated them, but because it’s something that can be found in history.  And besides, I’ve learned people like a good treasure hunt.  It often gives people the feeling of accomplishment when they can find something memorable for themselves and want to treasure it.

When you’re properly working points 1, 2 and 3, you’ll find word of mouth will also in fact also work its magic.  Want proof?  Check out how Cosmo Jarvis’ Gay Pirates went viral.

Finally not necessarily a rule but I’ll number it anyway…

4. Know which social/media site will be the best place to showcase your art.  And then reference it in some way in the places you like to visit and especially if have some sort of presence.  Like how WordPress allows me to reference the last four pieces I’ve uploaded to Flickr.  Like how you’re given the ability to create an about page that you can tell more about yourself (and even how to get in contact and/or reference other locations…  Social sites allow for intermingling in some way or another.  Utilize them to the best of your ability.

It’s a strange set of lessons there, one that I’m not sure how to explain without simply giving the information and allowing you to sort it out yourself…  My Fractal Art tends to be primarily posted to Deviant Art and Flickr because of the visual art community at large.  WordPress?  One Drive?  Google+?  Well, I want to see how long it’s going to take before I max out the storage space after that I’ll be referencing/embedding from Deviant Art and/or Flickr.   I get more likes/downloads and especially comments from Deviant Art and Flickr than anywhere else that my fractals posted to.  Facebook comes in second because well, my friends and family are all as opinionated as I am so I look forward to their advice and comments.  Everywhere else is just icing on my cake and gets me recognized either by comment/contribution or piece that I made for the week.  And because of this…  My art inspired other artists to try their hand in media they were more familiar with, here and here (to name a couple off the top of my head).

It accomplishes what I set out to do when I started making my art digital: make the impact I wanted.  Inspire others to give it a try themselves.  I’ve also witness that it applies to what I’ve seen of those Vloggers known as YouTube Personalities, Musicians, Celebrities and so on that have impacted my life and so many other lives in the process.

That’s it from me…  I’ve said all that I can.  Now I’m off to give Moe some attention and then read and to bed.  Until the next time.

[Edit:  Silly me.  Up to my tits in a lot of things and forgot 2 links in the last section.  Back and added...]

Recombinant Hexahedrons

Recombinant Hexahedrons

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve sat down and played with the numbers in the program of choice at the moment.  Most of the reason was because of the zaniness of other muses that have been playing across the Mad Scientist™’s mind.  But here I am, playing with other combinations…  Sixes, surf, eights along with my usual choices of cubes.

I looked at this piece and thought of my friend Chris who had done Waldo (yes, that Waldo) for Halloween and asking out loud with the cat on my desk while pointing “Where’s Waldo?”  Definitely not here, that’s for sure.

My cat flicked an ear, turned around and ignored me.  Apparently he wasn’t amused, even if I was.

Seriously… What’s so bloody important?

Entry 11/10/2014 12:46:41 PM – Mentat 788

 It’s a long weekend here in the Tundras of New England. Veteran’s Day falling toward the beginning of the week allows me a little peace and tranquility from the nutcases, douchebags, assholes and generally the sort of people that give me that routine bolster of misanthropy that makes me just so charming and curmudgeonly. I saw some interesting sites through the old neighborhood that I lived in more than 25 years ago (one of which I shared the picture on Instagram). I had some interesting nostalgia seeing the old house on Vernon Street and a shade envious that the house looks so much better in navy blue with lemon yellow trimming than the jaundice yellow and shit brown trimming that it had when I lived there.

Hell, the daily walks through the neighborhood were doing me a world of better as I was getting regular exercise while checking out the sights of the area, when during one of my walks to the supermarket for a couple of necessities as I got the crossing signal began my saunter across Eagle Street when some mad cow with a phone attached to his ear and looking only to the traffic that had already been stopped almost hit me when I was in the crosswalk. He didn’t look and it was apparent he didn’t care for anything other than the end of his nose and the opportunity to take a right on red. His attention only seemed to be with whoever was on his phone and the opposing traffic that was stopped for the crossing signal.

Believe me when I say, I yelled loud enough to get everyone’s attention at the signal. One woman who just took the phone off her ear at the stop light, shook her head in disbelief as she witnessed the man’s ignorance to the intersection and the pedestrian.

I simply looked at her without a smile and thought “pot, meet kettle. You’re both black…” As I finished crossing the street with the modest fear of someone else wanting to take a right turn and not seeing me — the pedestrian — in the crosswalk.

I went about my life as I do, fuming a bit at the inconsideration and the self-centeredness of the world at large.

The next day with earbuds on and softer than normal, I went about my walk for exercise and other necessities and sundries through the next four days. What I saw has not only disgusted me, but in a way has made me reinforce the Luddite qualities I have been slowly picking up as I’m over the half-century mark.

I have seen at least three people on the side/back roads of my neighborhood, trying to hide their texting activities as they’re driving. One of which is a repeat offender, almost hitting me not two weeks prior as he was paying more attention to his phone hidden against the front of his steering wheel than the road in from of him.

I have seen various women with that glazed over look in their eyes as they hold their cell phones to their ears with their shoulder oblivious to not only their shrieking children in the car, but the world around them in general.

I’ve seen various men with that glazed over look as well and demonstrating various levels of disgust at people in the roads cutting them off because those people have the right of way if the driver on the cell phone were actually paying attention to their driving.

I’ve seen couples in the car with both of them on the phone ignoring each other while in their own world.

I’ve counted more than a handful of men and women at the supermarket walking like zombies with the phone attached to their ear, muttering “yeah…” in a way that to me seems to only be half-listening to even the people on the phone.

I’ve watched these mobile zombies on the street, swinging bags (shopping, or personal handbags) in one hand with the other hand attaching the phone to their ear as they’re walking sidewalks and even crossing the street completely oblivious of oncoming traffic.

And if that don’t beat all, I’ve seen people on bikes trying to juggle balancing on two wheels with one hand holding a phone up to their ear while riding their bikes on pedestrian sidewalks. Or better, in the bike lanes of the road going against traffic.

I’m not even talking about the ones that generate more noise pollution as they hold the phones away from their ear and talk loud enough to compete with the jackhammers being used on road work here in the city. Those lovely examples of humanity make such a cacophony of noise at places like Kennedy Plaza (the central transit hub in Providence, RI) that it’s impossible for me to think straight even with my earbuds in and have the volume on my music set to full blast. But I covered this elsewhere in my rants against children thinking the world is their playground, sort of here.

It leaves me asking the question, “Seriously… What’s so bloody important that you have to have that phone attached to your ear?”

I remember seeing someone else rant about this not too long ago. It’s not so much that it’s important, it’s the fact that people can’t stand the feeling of being disconnected from their circle of friends. They want to be constantly connected. Have that constant input from friends, acquaintances, family and loved ones.

 However, there’s a line between acting responsibly and gross negligence because of self-centeredness; with many of the examples I’ve witnessed either teeter way too close to that line to gross over it so badly it leaves the transgressor in another part of the universe. And I ask them, “What’s it going to take for you to snap the hell out of this before realize your irresponsible actions are going to hurt, maim and/or kill a human being?”

I’m not a fan of “Mommy Government”. I have always believed that the best sort of government is the one that works on the principle that laws should be used to govern the general population, not police them. But more and more, I’m finding this “second class” attitude given to me and others walking the streets and trying to cross them… Well let’s just say I’ve had more than enough of it that I’m thinking of wanting to do something about it. Be it activism. Be it deputization. Be it humiliation. I haven’t decided yet what I want done about it. But when I do, I plan on making it a roar. Until the next time.

Imperfections in the Machine

Imperfections in the Machine

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

Sunday I was in a Mad Scientist Mood™ on Sunday and wanted to create something truly weird, wonderful and perhaps even awe-inspiring.  So for a number of hours I plugged away at it.  What I typically ended up with was messy, pixelated, practically monochromatic, and just plain…  BLAH.

Then on Monday, I decided to take a break from whatever game of the moment I was playing.  I was antsy, a bit on the anxious side and decided to put my mind in motion one more time.  This was the result.

It would appear that with Mandelbulb I need to be anxious rather than Mad Scientist™, eh?

Mictlantecuhtli

Mictlantecuhtli

 

 

 

 

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

Or better known as the Aztec God of Death.  I was being completely random in my creation of this fractal.  All numbers ending in 5; be it .25, .025 and so on.  When the face showed up — and so close to Halloween — I figured it was time to render.

Happy Samhain!  I’m off to fight demons and what not in a story or two while the kids in the neighborhood trick-or-treat.

Inspirational Music during the moment:  Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hell, Fun Boys Three – The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)  & Matthew Sweet – Evangeline

Cirriped Jetty

Cirriped Jetty

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

Welcome to the distraction of my mind as I’ve been working on a bit of journaling advice for a friend.  It’s as weird and asymmetrical as my writing style at the moment.

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