A fractal is a complex mathematical equation or sequence that produces geometric patterns (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) work. Here, we've picked eight amazing examples of fractal art to inspire you.
Inspired by a trip to Chiang Mai in Thailand, this short by Julius Horsthuis (opens in new tab) cleverly combines pairs of different fractal techniques to create weird and eerie landscapes that mix dense vegetation with huge, intricate structures. If you're interested in creating your own fractal imagery, he's also created handful of videos explaining his processes.
02. Fragments of Creation
Artist and musician James Alan Smith (opens in new tab) has been building and programming computers since the age of 7, and as well as creating award-winning software packages, he also uses his own custom code - along with standard graphic art packages - to create fractal and geometric artwork.
03. Hal Tenny (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab), 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.
04. Dr-Pen (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab), which he created using Mandelbulb 3D and then edited in Photoshop. Check out his DeviantArt gallery (opens in new tab) for a dazzling collection of his fractal work.
05. Fleur D'apo
This entrancing and colourful piece of fractal art is the creation of a Canadian DeviantArt illustrator by the name of mynameishalo (opens in new tab) (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.
06. Water Lilies
These fractal flames were created by Roger Johnston (opens in new tab) 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.
07. Jorge Abalo
Jorge Abalo (opens in new tab) 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.
08. The Manhattan Project
Californian DeviantArt illustrator Jacob Ankney (opens in new tab) 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!
Contributions: Jim McCauley (opens in new tab)