Art, for me, is a bit like the VegeBurger which I launched in 1982. The value of the product is in its capacity to change peoples lives, and it changes more people if it tastes good. The difference with art is that the flavour is always changing.
When I found out about "chaos theory" the new science studying complex systems, it brought together all the previous discoveries of my life and bound them into a new order. I had always suspected that synchronicity and a tendency to order were not random occurrences and here was a science that as much as proved it. I had also developed a profound disinterest in the political process and here was a science that told us it just wasn't possible to legislate change in a complex system, whatever the intentions. Determinism was dead at last!
And the fractal universes, discovered by the chaos theorists, were just beautiful. I felt like one of the first men privileged to behold the beauty of a new world as I spent most of the hours of the day edging ever deeper into this uncharted territory, saving the most spectacular locations as I went. I started to take photographs of my monitor screen, and was soon turning them into birthday cards for friends.
When it dawned on me that these newly discovered worlds, and the theory behind them, were in danger of being stuck in a backwater of the scientific world, my mission became clear - to open a shop dedicated to disseminating the knowledge beyond the borders of the scientists. Early encouragement arrived when Arthur C. Clarke paid a visit in 1991 and predicted that fractal images would increasingly find a place in the media, arts, and advertising worlds.
The fractal publishing evolved to meet the need for items to sell in the shop. We had to have postcards, posters, notecards, T-shirts, badges, coffee mugs, jigsaw puzzles, and just about anything else we thought of. Thus I evolved as an artist to meet the needs of the shop and publishing business and then the inevitable clash loomed as I saw myself having less and less time to evolve as an artist if I was to keep up with the needs of the business.
So I sold the shop after two and a half years, allowing me to get back to late-nights with the Macintosh and a whole new dimension of work which incorporated words, people, flowers, mirroring, and inclusion of other forms within the work I was producing. The results were well worth the sacrifice and many of them are licensed to poster publishers, T-shirt makers, card printers, etc. for worldwide sales and distribution.
As my own work develops away from a strictly fractal focus, my respect grows for the power of this imagination imaging machine called the computer. As a relatively naive newcomer to the scene, I am amazed by the realization that the art establishment does not yet recognize that the introduction of the computer as a tool for the artist will be viewed as one of the most significant and glorious moments in the history of art.
There have been many million reproductions of my images around the world, many of them adorning walls, kitchen cabinets, and people's bodies. Each one of these is a little butterfly of chaos itself and will make some change, whether as minor as a raindrop or as major as a tropical cyclone, in the life of its owner.
Many thanks and credit to Benoit Mandelbrot, James Gleick, Howie Cooke, Sandy Sams, Peter Cox, E.P. Ebenspanger, and Filiz Rezvan who all played significant parts in my own introduction to chaos theory and the creation of art on my previously business oriented Macintosh computer.
Also thanks to Jesse Jones who created the marvelous MANDELLA software for fractal generation, which I use in conjunction with ColorStudio, Photoshop, and Kai Power Tools in the creation of most of the fractal images on this site.
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