A fractal is a complex mathematical equation or sequence that produces geometric patterns which can be zoomed into infinitely and will still produce the same picture. Basically. There are naturally-occurring fractal shapes in everything from fern leaves to galaxy formations, and their link to chaos theory has meant fractals are a fascination of those seeking some kind of meaning to the universe.
Back on Earth, fractals' beauty and infinite repetition means that some artists have been inspired to create experimental design work. Here, we've picked eight amazing examples of fractal art to inspire you.
01. Hal Tenny
Fractal art doesn't necessarily have to mean abstract and psychedelic. This piece by Hal Tenny, entitled New Time Machine, was created using Mandelbulb 3D, a free application for creating detailed 3D fractal renders with an incredible assortment of imaging effects, and it was the winner of the Fractal Forums 2016 Fractal Art Competition.
An art hobbyist and curator for Society6, Dr-Pen has been creating 3D fractal images for over four years. We love the vivid colours and clean lines of Polished Rainbow Bands, which he created using Mandelbulb 3D and then edited in Photoshop. Check out his DeviantArt gallery for a dazzling collection of his fractal work.
03. Fleur D'apo
This entrancing and colourful piece of fractal art is the creation of a Canadian DeviantArt illustrator by the name of mynameishalo (or, to use his account name, Jeff). Made with an apophymator script, this explosive and stunning image is available to buy as a hi-res print. What's more, if you're looking for artistic tips from this fractal fiend, head over to his DeviantArt page to find an in depth apophymator tutorial.
04. Water Lilies
These fractal flames were created by Roger Johnston and are an "extension of the iterated function system class of fractals". Johnston has been creating fractal art for years and stands as one of the most impressive and unique creators in the field. We love his gorgeous use of colour and intricate details.
05. Jorge Abalo
Jorge Abalo is a self-taught artist who has been making art for as long as he can remember. He began working in digital art in the 1990s, and did comic illustration, design, 3D modelling, and flame fractals (Apophysis) before being introduced to Mandelbulb 3D in 2011. His work is a surreal and beautiful take on fractal art.
06. The Manhattan Project
Californian DeviantArt illustrator Jacob Ankney creates some pretty incredible fractal art designs. We adore his take on nature and his ability to incorporate the fractal art style into flowers, trees and more. The colours and texture create a feeling of awe and what's more, you can buy the prints!
07. Fractalic Mystical Daliphants
Johan Andersson's St Anthony and The Temptation of the Fractalic Mystical Daliphants is a fractal pastiche of The Temptation of St Anthony by Salvador Dalí. It features a ceramic sculpture the artist created many years ago. The sheer depth of this piece makes it most impressive, alongside some wonderful colour choices.
Now, the twist in the tail: here's a way to create your own pieces of fractal art. FraxHD is an excellently elegant fractal generator for the iPad that's blisteringly fast. With it you can create a fractal pattern, zoom right into the depths of its recursive details, rotate it and pan across it. You can adjust the colour palette, play with the lighting and twiddle the textures too. And you can do all of this using pinch, swipe and rotate gestures in as close to real time as makes not that much difference.
Contributions: Jim McCauley
Liked this? Read these!