Certainly, you must have gazed into clouds once in a while (some even more often) - thus training your imagination, recognizing various shapes in the constant movement of those clouds! Or threw molten lead into cold water, or read or 'read' future from black cofee residue! (Until recently other media were suitable for such soothsaying activities, as well - bones, beans, entrails...) Here, i want to divert your attention (no fortune-telling strings attached) to a contemporary medium based on a very interesting area of mathematics, which was cut into in the 17th century and dramaticaly developed in 1970s & 1980s - fractals! This area is rather exhaustive and i do not intend to elaborate it's theoretical background now - you can learn about it here! Yet, an important note: although the fractals had been contemplated about for couple of centuries, this occurred on the theoretical level only - due to very nature of the issue (infinite iterations of an actually very simple recursive function, like a dog chasing it's tail). This obstructed proper visual presentation of the fractals' self-similarity, i.e. of our universe's fractal nature, which only the sudden development of the electronic computers made possible! (It is true that the manual conjuring of some fractals is doable, but very rough+shallow...) Of course, mother nature is much more sophisticated computer (many instances of fractals can be found in nature!), but here+now we'll focus on the human-made ones.

In the mid 1970s, french mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot coined the term fractal, compressing the centuries of mathematical conteplation about fractional dimensions into a single word. He began to use computers extensively as a tool for visualising those, until then, hypothetical ideas, which resulted in many astonishhing images. In 1986 he developed the all-time-mostfamous fractal main formula - Mandelbrot set. An excellent documentary film about fractals and their 20th century development can be seen here.

As I'm no mathematician (although I do understand the basic idea of fractal geometry and am strongly attracted to it) + tend towards visual expression + can function in both virtual and real worlds only via a computer (mainly by picking the letters'n'digits on the virtual keyboard), my next occupation naturally imposed itself: 'fractal art' (fracart)! Quotation marks are used here, because this way of manipulating the visualisation of mathematical formulas is still not widely accepted as an artistic form, mainly because of how such work is made. It is true that fractal patterns can be found in certain works of art (both modern and traditional ones), but those instances do not count into the category i'm talking about! Namely:

Simply said, the (digital) fractal art's quintessence is to make a computer (by using a fractal-generating program + many math formulas and patterns available for it) to generate a fractal (a set of letters+digits - so called parameter set), whose graphical representation can be plotted (rendered - also the computer's rather time-consuming job) into a more-or-less fine+detailed digital image. Of course, this image can be printed out later on! (Quality depending on the digital pic's quality...) Such images are, naturally, completely abstract, so it is desireable that they contend an anchor shape that can serve as the starting point suggesting a story in the pic, trigger the observer's imagination. Yet, most often it suffices that they just look good! Complying to basic rules of visual arts (i.e. composition, colour handling...) is highly desireable and brings fractalising closer to art. As we can see - a creational process quite opposite to an artist's one, where (s)he first imagines the image (with more or less details, with or without an available model); or designer's who gets comissioned to make/draw/conjure something particular: he resolves the (more-or-less precisely) defined task thru his wit+imagination, skillfully using certain tools+technologies, thus manifesting his ideas. In the case of fractalising, one 'plays' by changing the available parameters, not knowing exactly what the final result will look like! (Well - maybe guessing, depending on his/her understanding/knowing of the fractal-generating program (s)he is using!) Many such programs for calculating/plotting various types of fractals (so-called fractal generators) are available (and for various platforms) on internet - most of them as freeware, some for very modest price! They are my favourite computer games ;-} eg.: Ultrafractal, Apophysis, Chaoscope...

(As to me - I'm still stuck on the highschool (end '70s) mathematical level of wandering through the 2D/3D reality and for the time being i access those programs as a curious math ignorant hot'n'ready for artistc adventures.)
Soon after my initial enthusiasm for fractals and flerting with the metioned programs, i found out that some of my humble works are OK enough to be shown in public, so i started to post them on the internet (deviantart & facebook), besides my photos.
Here are some presented as well - fractallery.

Note: I postprocess my fractals digitally ever more frequently!


along with the static images exhibited in the fractallery, i made a couple of fractanimations as well. You can see here two of them: