AFA Artist Feature: Metafractals!

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All-Fractal-Art is proud to present Dominic Rochon AKA Metafractals! Dominic has answered some questions for us, and chosen some of his favourite pieces for display:

1) Please tell us something about yourself.

First and foremost, I’m someone who likes to have fun. Since childhood, when my mother taught me to play with Lego blocks, I’ve enjoyed the creative process. However, I didn't do so well at school, because I didn't like having rules imposed on me to learn. The situation grew even more dire in high school, until I happened to watch a television report about fractals. I immediately fell in love with this new concept of mathematics also found in the geometry of nature. From that moment on, my passion for fractals made me into a star student. I wanted to understand and learn more about these magnificent objects. Twelve years later, I’ve become a doctor of fundamental mathematics who now teaches specialized university courses on fractals.

2) How long have you been making fractal art? How did you first become interested?

At first, my interest in fractals was scientific. I was genuinely obsessed with the Mandelbrot set and its various generalizations. But it wasn't long before I realized that science also had certain limitations. In my heart, I sensed that this wall could be broken down through art. So, in 2001 I began to merge the beauty of fractals with a purely aesthetic approach using Photoshop. Fractal art is now a way for me to express reality in a poetic, magical—even mystical—way.

3) Please tell us something about the software you use.

My more elaborate artistic experiments with fractals were achieved using experimental software that we developed at UQTR thanks to the creative genius of several exceptional students. We called this software MetatronBrot Explorer 8D (MBE8D). This software allows you to explore the eight principal slices of the generalized Mandelbrot set on the space of tricomplex numbers. In recent years, I’ve ventured out with Mandelbulb 3D (MB3D) software. This free software is absolutely extraordinary! It allows you to hybridize mathematical formulas and get fractal creations of very high quality. In particular, the software allows you to add background images and create your own colour gradients. I also love using FraxPro software to showcase the beauty of the mathematics.

4) Do you have a specific approach to making your art, or does it vary from piece to piece?

One of my artistic idiosyncrasies is to use fractals generated by FraxPro software in conjunction with the MB3D software. I also find it interesting to use my own photos of clouds to accent a fractal with a surrealist perspective. Finally, I specialize in 3D representations of the Mandelbrot set as a way of artistically celebrating the diversity of approaches, be they scientific or simply experimental.

5) Do you have any artists who inspire you (they needn't be fractal artists)?

The artist who inspires me most is, without a doubt, Gaudí. Antoni Gaudí was a Catalan architect of Spanish nationality born on June 25 (like me!), 1852. In my opinion, he is a forefather of fractal art. His creations are very much inspired by nature, and his use of the spiral is very interesting. During my last trip to Spain, I was struck by the obvious link between Gaudí and the geometry of nature. Park Güell in Barcelona is a clear example of this. Nowadays, thanks to advances in computer science, the field of fractal art has fully emerged and is thriving. Through our formulas, software, colour gradients, parameters, tweaks, pongs, etc., I think that we all participate in each other’s individual creations. The field of fractal art is therefore itself a “fractal,” and it would be interesting for the museums of the future to exploit this communal aspect of fractal creation. That being said, I understand the importance of finding our own particular styles. Like many people who use the MB3D software, I’ve been greatly influenced by the unique, powerful and joyful style of Jorge Abalone. I also find Janhein Grimmelt’s surrealist approach very inspiring. I’d also like to highlight the luminous fractals of Liam Donoghue (aka Solankii), the beautiful fractal flowers of Chiara Biancheri (aka lindelokse) and the phenomenal and unprecedented production of Otto Magus.

6) You have chosen 6 pieces to be displayed in this feature. Is there anything you'd like to say about these?

1. Tetrabrot Tower

This creation is an attempt to hybridize the formula for the Tetrabrot with a Kleinian IFS. My objective was to arrive at an architecture that comes close to what was proposed by Gaudí. In particular, I wanted to introduce natural spirals into the structure of the Tetrabrot.

Tetrabrot Tower

2. 3D Mandelbrot set – Zoom in, No. 03

This creation uses the halo features of the MBE8D software. This fractal represents a zoom on a self-similar part of the Tetrabrot. The halos represent the divergence layers to infinity. I added a background that I generated with FraxPro software. The merging with the background was made possible thanks to Pixelmator Pro software functions, and the lighting effect was added using Moldiv software.

3D Mandelbrot set - Zoom in, No. 03

3. Personal growth

This spiral that wraps around itself is a 3D representation of a spiral from a Julia set. To achieve this result, I used my own simplified adaptation of the formula to generate the famous Mandelbulb of Paul Nylander and Daniel White. One of the fantastic features of the MB3D software is that you can introduce your own formulas through JIT files.

Personal growth

4. The Rising Sun

This fractal represents a zoom on another experimental generalization of the Mandelbrot set that I call the Mandelscarab. I attempted to highlight the disturbance of the original bulbs of the Mandelbrot set in a “vortex.” Basically, my goal was to represent the shape as an Egyptian jewel, taking inspiration from the scarab. The title refers to the mystical significance of the scarab in ancient Egypt.

The Rising Sun

5. The Pearl of Heaven

This creation is a tweak of a work by fractal artist Brent McNeely (aka dainbramage1). I adapted this one’s original parameters and introduced a sphere in reflection of the central spiral.

The Pearl of Heaven

6. The Transhuman Blue Moon

This fractal uses the hybridization of a formula proposed by Jos Leys with my own photo of clouds in the background. The distinctive feature is using transparency for the balls in the fractal. I was freely inspired by Schmiegel’s parameters to help me understand how to use a transparency effect with the MB3D software. My new understanding of these parameters has now propelled me in a new artistic direction.

The Transhuman Blue Moon
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Fractamonium's avatar

Excellent interview Dr. Dom. My favorite architect and artist is also Antoni Gaudi! What a coincidence!