June 1, 2014 by The Citron Review
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My work is completely digital. I begin every piece by generating a fractal image using software designed specifically for producing such mathematical imagery. I then import the “base” image into various graphics programs (like Photoshop, Painter, PhotoPaint, and others) and process the image — sometimes minimally, but usually heavily.
“Implant” (2013). This is a moderately processed image initially rendered in a program called Quasz. Basically, the image is a quaternion fractal. In contrast to more familiar fractal imagery (spirals, stalks, bubbles), quaternions often resemble soft plastic or silly putty that has been spun or twisted by an unseen enormous force. Here, the soft shadows and rounded lines contrast sharply with the harsh straight lines suggesting a peeled away cheese-wedge incision — an X-ray of botched plastic surgery. The fluid material revealed inside remains a mystery. Silicone? Cancer? Tissue inflamed by chemo?
“Turntable Nostalgia” (2014). I work by serendipity and rarely know where I am going or what is going to happen. This image was initially rendered in a program called Fractal Zplot — and then processed mercilessly with extreme prejudice. I worked meticulously through many iterations to continue further replicating the recursive triangular forms. Although digital, the composition somehow reminded me of a visualization of warmer and less tinny analog sound — or perhaps a depiction of sonic layers literally lifted out of the grooves of a record.
“War of the Worlds Remix (2012). One frustrating limitation of making digital art is the lack of a one-of-a-kind original — a painter’s painting or sculptor’s sculpture. A digital “master” can be near-endlessly replicated. But the the digital artist has at least one advantage over the physical artist — an advantage digital musicians have understood for quite some time. The digital artist can remix the original. “War of the Worlds” was originally made in 2002 on a far less sophisticated computer with much less graphic firepower. The original master was only 600 x 800 pixels. Ten years later, in 2012, using a generations-better computer, and employing Blow-Up, software from Alien Skin, I expanded the image to 100 times its original size and reprocessed it. Details, initially unseen and buried in the tiny original, suddenly became visible and more vibrant. Moreover, I was now able to make a print of the image. The forms in the image reminded me of the gliding Martian ships in George Pal’s 1953 film version of the H. G. Wells’ novel.
Terry Wright teaches creative writing and is dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at at the University of Central Arkansas. His latest poetry chapbook is Fractal Cut-Ups (Kattywompas). His visual art has been widely published in various print and online venues like Potion, Pure Francis, Sliver of Stone, Third Wednesday, and USA Today. Terry believes his sunrise can beat up yours.