Where did it all begin? Part 2 – My first piece in the series

I was working on Judaic Art but had hit a roadblock. I wanted to have my designs custom printed on silk to make into prayer shawls (tallit). The results were beautiful, but the cost was too high to make them profitable. I was frustrated and needed another artistic outlet.

In January of 2011, I attended an inspirational seminar, Matrix Energetics. And while I did not become a practitioner like my brother, it did lead me to begin my series of photography-based kaleidoscopic artwork. When I got home, I created the first piece, Magnolia Pod-me Hum. The base image is a magnolia pod from a tree in my garden. It was placed there by my landscape designer as his gift to me and as a reminder of his business, Mother Magnolia.

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Base image for Magnolia Pod-me Hum

I was looking though the various experimentations I had done with U&I Software’s Artmatic, a modular graphics synthesizer that I enjoyed fiddling with. I found an example I made from a piece of beach rock marked with holes. It was a simple reflection without any further manipulation. But it gave me the spark to play around with the idea of incorporating photographs into the six-pointed stars I had been creating in Artmatic and manipulating in Photoshop.

Holey Beach Rock
Holey Beach Rock

An idea was born. I used the Artmatic parameter tree (see blog post, Where did it all begin? Part 1) from Holey Beach Rock as my starter point. I made many variations on the theme with the photograph of my magnolia pod as the source. I took the resulting renders and imported them into Photoshop to be masked, shaded and layered. I decided the result needed a little something extra so I put in little versions of the magnolia pod and some dots. I can’t remember why I decided to try dots, but they seemed to work and added an extra something. The result was Magnolia Pod-me Hum–the first of what would become a series in excess of eighty pieces and still growing.

In the beginning, I set myself up with some rules, kind of like an assignment. I alway said that I work best under assignment. This time it didn’t come from the outside. My pieces would be made from a single photograph. They would be six-sided symmetry. They would have dots. I made eleven pieces like that until I created Rose Frills In Four which is titled such because I used a four-sided symmetry. Then with twelve pieces in the series, I made my second calendar.

Next time, I’ll talk about the process a bit.

 

 

 

Where did it all begin? Part 1 – The Software

Many people ask me how I started this series of kaleidoscopic artworks. There is no short answer, but I’ll try to address it here. As to my background, you can read about it in my About Page. But briefly, I love kaleidoscopes, geometry and unusual plant forms. My background in graphic design got me well versed in image based software. For example, I was using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator from their inception.

My curiosity led me to some pretty amazing programs that modify images by applying advanced mathematics to alter their original structure or to generate images from scratch. These programs go way beyond fractals. The ones I rely on most are Synthetik Studio Artist and U&I Software’s Artmatic Designer, with the latter being the one mainly used in my kaleidoscopes. I have another, completely different body of work that was created using Studio Artist, but I not going to talk about that at this time.

When I purchased Artmatic in 1999, I spent a lot of time working with fractals. The program has a randomize button that is useful when learning the software. There are hundreds of parameters (tiles) that can be strung together in different structures, or trees. There is no limit on the number of tiles that can be placed in the tree. Each tile has one to four sliders that can be adjusted. So using the random button and pre-designed trees are good jumping-off points.

MD-JewelTones
Magen David – Jewel Tones

It wasn’t until 2005 that I came across the small corner of the program that worked with center-based mirrors. I was working with Judaic themes at the time and I experimented a lot with six-pointed symmetry to relate to the Magen David star that has been adopted as a symbol of the faith. These artworks were created entirely inside the computer. I wasn’t yet using photographs for the source. In 2010, I had enough of these images that I decided to put together my first calendar. This means that in six years, I had created only 12 pieces like this, or enough for me to consider them a series.

It was in early 2011 that I began using my photographs to create the stars. I had already been using Photoshop to alter what Artmatic generated–cutting up several images, layering and weaving them together to make new artworks. As an example, the piece shown here, Magen David – Jewel Tones, is made from four variations of the same Artmatic tree, each with different surface decoration. When I discovered what using photographs did for my art, I ran forward with the idea and never looked back.

At the moment, my series of photographic based, kaleidoscopic artwork numbers in excess of eighty. Next, I’ll discuss the very first one.

Reflections In The Garden at the LA County Arboretum

I am very happy to announce that I am to be the inaugural artist of the newly renovated Library at the Arboretum. The interior space has been designed with the intent to show local artists whose work complements its surrounding botanical collection. I am installing my kaleidoscopic artwork in early January with the show running through the end of June.
Reflections In The Garden notice