Something that was Art

Art is a snake continually shedding it’s skin.  Crafts are snakes that continually repair and perfect their skin.  Crafts are not creative, and craftsmen are not creative except within that tiny space of stylistic variation they give themselves to wriggle.  Craftsmen are perfectionists and their goal is to create ideal things; they fix up old stuff, they don’t make new things; they polish old doorknobs and varnish worn stair railings; if their coffin gets a scratch they come back to life and repaint it.

On the other hand, art is a snake continually shedding it’s skin; changing; transforming; moving on; wiping the slate clean; reanimating itself in a lightning storm, and sees the craftsman’s perfectionism as the mere worship of tradition; dead and lifeless;  wheel ruts;  sketching their own shadow; cut off from the very thing that created it in the first place — something that was new and exciting, something that was Art.

(The image started off as a fractal made in InkBlot Kaos and then got the little squares added in Mosaic Toolkit by Lance Otis, and was then India Inked using the wave pattern.  I don’t know how it got the orange and red color to it.)

Excitement

The main feature of art is excitement.  Art, in its highest form is the things that excite the mind regardless, or in spite of being: not well made; or not properly made; accidentally made; thoughtlessly made; a poor example of what’s been done before; unimpressive; not well received; hard to label; poorly presented; not well explained; retrieved from the garbage.

If the “thing” we’re looking at ignites wonder or a chain reaction of strange new thoughts and feelings, mental aromas, then it’s art and those who agree readjust their minds and welcome more of it.  Those who disagree, find solace and support in pointing out that this “thing” is: not well made; or not properly made; accidentally made; thoughtlessly made; a poor example of what’s been done before; unimpressive; not well received; hard to label; poorly presented; not well explained; retrieved from the garbage.

(Image was made probably from a fractal that was filtered with a lot of things (India Ink, for one) particularly one which I no longer have handy that does the circular thing.  Finally it was filtered with uscomic.8bf to give it the high contrast colors and 8-color palette.)

Photok

Art is the place of the niche, the specialist, the fanatic, the extreme tastes that seem to appeal to an obscure few.  One should expect wild variety and  many things that just plain look weird or if you had to display them you wouldn’t know whether it was upside down or not or even which side of the canvas the “art” is on.  Confusion, and the charlatans who use it for cover, are common elements in any artform.  One needs to develop their own art compass because the direction they’re heading in will soon be challenged by someone or something and possibly even themself.

“Because I like it” is a bold statement that provokes a response from the clever charlatan who, like a martial artist of debating, knows how quickly the unprepared and smiling art-tourist can be knocked down by a simple move like, “And who are you?”.

It’s a trap.  See how quickly he changes the subject from art to you?  It’s a mind-game and easiest way to win is to shake your opponent’s confidence in their very own thoughts.

Respond with, “I am Zor-gar of the thirty-fifth galaxy, Professor at the Imperial Institute”.  Ha, ha.  That will do it!  Charlatans are like lions: they only go after the weak and the lame.

Unless you go after them.

(Image made from a fractal, multicrystal.8bf-ed and then India Inked)

Fractal Mount of Transfiguration

Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. His appearance was changed in front of them, his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good that we’re here! If you want, I will set up three shelters  —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

He was still speaking when a bright cloud suddenly overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with him. Keep on listening to him!”  When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.

But Jesus came up to them and touched them, saying, “Get up, and stop being afraid.” When they raised their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus all by himself.

(Text from The Bible, International Standard Version.  Image made in InkBlot Kaos and filtered with India Ink (Bayer, dots and x’s pattern) then given it’s iconic form by Mirror-Mirror.)

Fractal Art

Fractal formulas can create astonishing things.  A lot depends on how the particular program renders them though.  The above image was made in InkBlot Kaos, one of a number of programs made by the well-known fractal programmer, Stephen Ferguson.

I particularly like InkBlot Kaos because I can made interesting things quickly and relatively easily but also explore variations in coloring and formulas just as easily.  This image uses the following formula entered into its simple formula parser: “atan(atan(2*(c))-(3.2^z)+c)^4”

I just made it up by playing around with numbers and the few trig things that it allows.  The possibilities are huge, particularly if you like to experiment with things like I do.

Below is the original image as it was rendered in the program.

I don’t make the images, really;  I just push buttons and turn dials.  That’s the other thing I like about fractal programs.

Here’s a variation of the very first image which was India Inked.  I used the Mirror-Mirror filter.  Mirroring seems to work well with fractals as they have a lot of wild detail and the mirroring gives them a nice ordered and polished look.

Sometimes I think of fractal programs as art slaves because their creative contribution is so much greater than mine.  An equally accurate description of them is that they are quite simply just a very powerful tool for the production of creative imagery.  Art Slave sounds sininster, brutal, oppressive, maniacal.  It conjures up images of chains, whips, endless toil without goal or profit — one’s very offspring snatched from their hands and sold like cattle for a cruel, uncaring elite.

I can assure you, there is absolutely nothing like that going on in the production of fractal art.

An Artistry Surpassing Anything Else

The things once rearing and dwelling in this frightful masonry in the age of dinosaurs were not indeed dinosaurs, but far worse. Mere dinosaurs were new and almost brainless objects – but the builders of the city were wise and old, and had left certain traces in rocks even then laid down well nigh a thousand million years – rocks laid down before the true life of earth had advanced beyond plastic groups of cells – rocks laid down before the true life of earth had existed at all. They were the makers and enslavers of that life, and above all doubt the originals of the fiendish elder myths which things like the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon affrightedly hint about.

They were the great “Old Ones” that had filtered down from the stars when earth was young – the beings whose substance an alien evolution had shaped, and whose powers were such as this planet had never bred. And to think that only the day before Danforth and I had actually looked upon fragments of their millennially fossilized substance – and that poor Lake and his party had seen their complete outlines – It is of course impossible for me to relate in proper order the stages by which we picked up what we know of that monstrous chapter of prehuman life.

After the first shock of the certain revelation, we had to pause a while to recuperate, and it was fully three o’clock before we got started on our actual tour of systematic research. The sculptures in the building we entered were of relatively late date – perhaps two million years ago-as checked up by geological, biological, and astronomical features – and embodied an art which would be called decadent in comparison with that of specimens we found in older buildings after crossing bridges under the glacial sheet.

One edifice hewn from the solid rock seemed to go back forty or possibly even fifty million years – to the lower Eocene or upper Cretaceous – and contained bas-reliefs of an artistry surpassing anything else, with one tremendous exception, that we encountered. That was, we have since agreed, the oldest domestic structure we traversed.

(Text from At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, 1931.  Images made from an expeditionary team of photoshop filters lead by Extractor 1.8bf.)

The Most Daring Futurists

The technique, we soon saw, was mature, accomplished, and aesthetically evolved to the highest degree of civilized mastery, though utterly alien in every detail to any known art tradition of the human race. In delicacy of execution no sculpture I have ever seen could approach it.

The minutest details of elaborate vegetation, or of animal life, were rendered with astonishing vividness despite the bold scale of the carvings; whilst the conventional designs were marvels of skillful intricacy. The arabesques displayed a profound use of mathematical principles, and were made up of obscurely symmetrical curves and angles based on the quantity of five.

The pictorial bands followed a highly formalized tradition, and involved a peculiar treatment of perspective, but had an artistic force that moved us profoundly, notwithstanding the intervening gulf of vast geologic periods. Their method of design hinged on a singular juxtaposition of the cross section with the two-dimensional silhouette, and embodied an analytical psychology beyond that of any known race of antiquity.

It is useless to try to compare this art with any represented in our museums. Those who see our photographs will probably find its closest analogue in certain grotesque conceptions of the most daring futurists.

(Text from At the Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft, 1931.  Image made with the blockwave filter from Showfoto, the program of the future.)

No Ordinary City

For this place could be no ordinary city. It must have formed the primary nucleus and center of some archaic and unbelievable chapter of earth’s history whose outward ramifications, recalled only dimly in the most obscure and distorted myths, had vanished utterly amidst the chaos of terrene convulsions long before any human race we know had shambled out of apedom.

  

Here sprawled a Palaeogaean megalopolis compared with which the fabled Atlantis and Lemuria, Commoriom and Uzuldaroum, and Olathoc in the land of Lomar, are recent things of today – not even of yesterday; a megalopolis ranking with such whispered prehuman blasphemies as Valusia, R’lyeh, Ib in the land of Mnar, and the Nameless city of Arabia Deserta.

As we flew above that tangle of stark titan towers my imagination sometimes escaped all bounds and roved aimlessly in realms of fantastic associations – even weaving links betwixt this lost world and some of my own wildest dreams concerning the mad horror at the camp.

The plane’s fuel tank, in the interest of greater lightness, had been only partly filled; hence we now had to exert caution in our explorations. Even so, however, we covered an enormous extent of ground – or, rather, air – after swooping down to a level where the wind became virtually negligible. There seemed to be no limit to the mountain range, or to the length of the frightful stone city which bordered its inner foothills.

Fifty miles of flight in each direction showed no major change in the labyrinth of rock and masonry that clawed up corpselike through the eternal ice. There were, though, some highly absorbing diversifications; such as the carvings on the canyon where that broad river had once pierced the foothills and approached its sinking place in the great range.

The headlands at the stream’s entrance had been boldly carved into Cyclopean pylons; and something about the ridgy, barrel-shaped designs stirred up oddly vague, hateful, and confusing semi-remembrances in both Danforth and me.

(Text from At the Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft, 1931.  Images made with the blockwave filter from Showfoto.)

Clicking With the Anjouan Invasion

I started off with this image (below) that I got off the Wikipedia from their article on the 2008 Invasion of Anjouan.  I thought the mix of solids and gradients and generally pleasing colors would make good raw material for a Clickism gauntlet of graphics filters and effects applied with skill and recklessness and nothing more than mere mouse clicks.

If I remember correctly (and that’s always doubful in Clickism) I used Ilyich the Toad’s multicrystal.8bf to produce the sierpinski block pattern and then mirror, mirror to produce the symmetry.  There’s undoubtably a few coloring filters in there as you can see the colors have changed.

Either before or after this, I resized the image and then tried the Extractor 1 filter on it that produces this two bit black and white type of image.  A rather interesting pagoda like result occurred.  Extractor 1 can make some really stunning things, but it takes some practice to find the right combination of effects.  Fortunately, experimentation in Clickism is fun and one soon finds themself with more gold mines than they can dig.

     

Stay tuned for more Clicking with… fun and excitement.

Mars Gravity Probe -1

  

In the great classic sci-fi movie, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, the astronauts are part of a serious space mission called “Mars Gravity Probe -1”.  I didn’t think anything of the name; it was just one of those convenient tools that provide for an easy setting.

It turns out though, that the idea of sending out Gravity Probes is something that is still in the works and was a topic of serious speculation back in the mid-sixties when the movie was made.

 

I’m on my own Gravity Probe mission.  Been doing that sort of thing now since 2002.  Don’t need no NASA.  Don’t need no “big budget”.

Don’t need no gravity, neither.

I’ve been to places they don’t even have numbers for yet.

Sure, they’re after me.  But they won’t ever catch up.  Why?  Because I got the parameters, man.  They can’t do nothing without those.

I fly through the sky in a shining silver spaceship.  I ain’t one of those slide-rule boys.