{Mandelbrot} and {Julia}

{Mandelbrot} and {Julia}

Acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 24″

“Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”  – Benôit Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature, 1982

A mathematician named Benôit Mandelbrot studied the curious geometry of fractals: repeating, self-similar patterns that I can only describe as shapes echoing out of itself.  There are natural fractals in nature: tree branches, the alveoli of our lungs and sand dunes, to name a few.

 His work elucidates the extreme order within the seemingly chaotic shapes found in nature.  He does this by determining a formula that would describe a dynamical set of numbers that “grow and expand” when put through a looping equation; the question becomes the answer, which becomes the question that becomes an answer.

He then discovered that a number within the Mandelbrot set corresponds to a certain shape that the Julia set exhibits.  For example, if you chose zero as a constant, {Julia} is a circle.  Choose another number and {Julia} is a cloud. . . a lighting. . . a leaf. . . and so on.  But the shape of {Mandelbrot} never changes in the complex plane.  Zoom in or out into infinity, and {Mandelbrot} just is.  Mandelbrot speaking on a TED talk (13:33).   As an artist, the philosophy of it blows my mind.

(For the extended essay: https://karenquinto.com/2012/06/27/iterative-dynamic/)


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