Fractal Universe 2010 - Call for Submissions
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pannyhb's avatar
By pannyhb   |   
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Fractal Universe ® 2010

Call for Submissions

This is an open call for you to submit your fractal artwork for
consideration for inclusion in the Fractal Universe ® Calendar 2010.

We have just now been notified by the publisher that the Fractal Universe ® Calendar is a go for 2010.

*Please note that the deadline for submissions this year is May 10, 2008*

We would like to stress again this year that this is a commercial venture, and not a contest. The publisher will ultimately decide the final 13 images that will be included in the calendar.

All the information you will need is detailed on the following website:

"Fractal Forum"

Please make your submissions and any additional enquires you may have

via the contact form on the above website.

This message has been posted to some of the fractal art mailing lists and forums. If you think it may be of interest to others please feel free to forward it, as it is written here, to other 'net sites where fractal artists meet to share and discuss fractals.Thanks and good luck!

Panny Brawley
anonymous's avatar
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Klarenden's avatar
Wow the drama. I just recently started to get into fractal and I'm not a professional artist under the fractal level, nor do I claimed to be one. My concentrationis on metalsmithing art. But if it's all for a calendar publishing....if you don't like their rules of submittance, and contests, and aspects of art an what not, why not just make your own calendar?
AbstractApproach's avatar
At the risk of rising a rightfully dead topic full of strife and argument, I would argue that we are approaching the problem incorrectly. Rather than focusing on solving the issues, we are instead focusing on debating them, and the semantics so involved, which usually produces no result, this case not being an exception.

Therefore, it is with this excessively wordy thought in mind that I suggest we all pause and go read Seth Godin for a moment. Seth Godin is not a fractal artist. Seth Godin, is in point of fact, not even an artist. He is a marketing guy (an absolutely brilliant one). It is his approach to solving problems, however, as well as his acute analysis of the world we live in, however, that are of interest.

We start by examining the problem at hand, and conclude that yes, Terry and Tim have a valid point, in that the public exposure to fractals is limited. I would argue that their point regarding the ethical practices of the two contests is invalid, especially in the case of Fractal Universe, but the point would be moot, and I will refrain from making and supporting it, in the hopes that further discussion of it can be avoided. Ethics being a subjective issue, this argument can never be solved, as both sides have a legitimate case, and their is no absolutely correct answer).

The more important point here is not the ethics of various fractal art competitions, but rather the exposure to the public. In fact it remains, that, while preponderance of the evidence does not constitute proof, it also may represent the best available actionable information in an issue. While I have no numbers to post (and any who would greatly aid this discussion by doing so - I get paid to write software and so I have neither the time nor necessarily the knowledge time to find said numbers and present them in an intelligent way), I can state that, like others, I have never seen any fractal art in the " public eye " other than the fractal universe calendars I have seen in Barnes and Noble. And while I have never personally bought a Fractal Universe calendar (for no other reason than because if I want to view fractal art, I prefer to do so on DA and Renderosity, where I can post comments and increment the ego/confidence/happiness building view count for the artist's pleasure), I do have the 2008 calender at my desk because my friend, whose only exposure to fractals has been my gallery, bought it for me as a gift, and I don't believe all of this amounts to some crazy coincidence. Fractal Universe clearly has public attention and appeal. The other competition is debatable, but, having not been involved in making fractals since I was really young (I'm now 20, still probably the youngest guy here, but I haven't made fractals seriously since I was about 15), I will take your word and assume it has its fair share of publicity.

Yet I will significantly disagree with OT on another point. The reason (at least the stated reason, which for the purpose of this post I will assume to be correct) for the choice of fractals at Fractal Universe is that they are deemed to be the fractals most likely to draw buyers to the calendar. And I will admit, brightly colored pretty looking spirals do tend to stand out well, even though what I'm really looking for is the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar :shocked:.

Given this, we likely should agree that the problem isn't necessarily with the nature of Fractal Universe (which as they say is NOT a competition), but rather with the selection of publicly available material. I find it sad that while there are loads of books on abstract art, I have never once seen a book on fractals. I have seen lots of modern works, from odd paintings to people making canvases out of skateboards to a room covered in bubble wrap featuring a bubble wrap igloo inside (which was actually kind of cool...I really had to restrain myself from poping them....:jarksaber:). But no fractal art.

I will not comment on the reasoning behind this, I'll let others do that, and I will not present a solution. But I will argue against a statement by the OT crew. If an individual is not happy with his neurosurgeon, he cannot operate on his own brain - true. But if the community is unhappy with the efforts and achievements of neurosurgery in general, and wants to achieve more, it works together to plan, develop, and implement a better solution. My point here being that while we can sit here and argue about Fractal Universe all day, their motives, rights to expression, and end products are their own, and if we want to change the publicly available collection of fractal work, we would be grossly better served by doing so in an additive fashion, as not only would this be simpler, but the end result would be MORE fractals available to the consumer, MORE exposure to our art, and MORE opportunities for all artists, of all styles to gain publicity.

I am not suggesting that one artist be responsible for creating the solution, nor do I think the solution is singular in nature. I believe, and have long believed, even when I was making art before, that we should, as a community, work towards gaining more presence in the mainstream. A small amount of work by every artist, given freely, could result in massive benefits for all. Look at Wikipedia - tiny contributions by millions of users results in a massively useful (even if ultimately not completely reliable) tool for all.

I suggest we continue to discuss what we, as a community can do to further this goal. Given focus and some intelligent input from many members, I think we can really make some cool things happen. I will mirror the post over at the Fractal Forum, which I found along with this discussion while searching for 'fractal communities'. Thanks for reading this post (for those few of you who have not fallen asleep yet)!

lyc's avatar
ohgodnooooooo, please don't feed the trolls, they so gladly devour any and all attention and this whole dumb saga just needs to die.

read the orbit trap posts and replies for pages and pages of long-winded and exceptionally smarmy arguing (at least what's left after the post censoring -- because others shouldn't read it, not e.g. bad language) to see why feeding these ravenous trolls is exactly what many people, myself very much included, would greatly appreciate your not doing ;)

these same wankers have got serious jealousy over programmers being gateways to the fractal world; google "fractal art isn't rocket science", there's posts on both ot and fractalforums.
cruelanimal's avatar

Thanks for the conversation. I enjoyed talking with you. And thanks, too, for taking the time to think about these issues and for expressing your thoughts about them -- especially on a weekend.

My best to you--

cruelanimal's avatar

So your answer to my question about whether you are worried about the limited styles and confined aesthetics presented as representational by the FU Calendar is no? I respectfully disagree this product is "a glorious way" to present our art form to the masses. I feel it widely reinforces stereotypes of what fractal art is and can be.

I also assume you are sympathetic to Childress' positions -- and that is why you mentioned his blog. Am I right? Or are you taking issue with him as well?

If the Fractal Art Calendar was a true publishing venture, it would be run like one. The publishers would hire an editor and pay her or him (with a check) for services rendered. Those services would entail directly soliciting artists to contribute original work to the calendar.

But that is not what happens. Instead, the entire venture is couched in a competitive scenario. The editor is actually a screener who pares down the many entries to a more manageable number. The misnamed editors turn these finalists over to a "publishing team" who function as judges and select winning submissions for inclusion.

Editors surely deserve payment, but a compensation that includes the editor's work in the publication -- especially when the selection process is competitive rather than solicited -- is widely regarded as an unprofessional practice that runs an increased risk of invalidating competitions on the grounds of promoting favoritism and increasing the risk of conflicts of interest. The FU Calendar process further allows editors to submit their own work into the final pool of artists selected to be sent to the publishers. As a result of these unusual protocols, just over 40% of the images that appeared in the Fractal Universe Calendar from 2004-2004 was the work of just four former or current editors.

If the calendar was run as a conventional publishing enterprise, whether private or public, I'd have no problem with it. But since it has become one of only two major art competitions for our field, I'd say it is very much the business of all of us to insist that our competitions be run with the highest professionalism. If you and others are indifferent to having strict, commonplace standards, then I fear fractal artists will always be seen as amateurs and hobbyists, at best -- and hacks, at worst -- by the larger art community.
beebee127's avatar
Hello again. Hope you're having a great day.

Whether or not I agree with you, Ken Childress, or anyone else hardly matters. On a regular day I am just a hack, on a good day I'm an amateur and hobbyist. I am incapable of producing an image that would be accepted for the calendar, but its hardly important. I don't know too many people outside the fractal community itself who really worry about all this, and I am hardly qualified to debate with you, particularly on a weekend.

All I can suggest to you is that you contact Avalanche and apply for the position of "screener" next year. You might want to reject the offer of a guaranteed image, and of course you'd not get the $200, but you might bring more integrity and diversity to the calendar.
Excuse me while I remove my tongue from my cheek...just a brief lapse into childishness. :D

Another option would be to open your own competition with your own rules..
Sorry, but I'm the wrong person to be debating this with. Frankly,there are too many more important issues in these sad and scary times for me to worry about a calendar.
Hope one day this is all resolved to your satisfaction.
cruelanimal's avatar

I'd argue the calendar does have a profound effect on how people see our genre. For many people outside our community, the only contact they have with fractal art comes from buying the Fractal Universe Calendar. As such, it embodies how fractal art is represented in the public mind. Are you happy with the scope and breadth of that representation? Or do you worry that the calendar presents a limited style and a confined aesthetics?

I am sorry you are confused about our reservations about the fairness and professionalism of the two major fractal competitions. We tried to explain ourselves using details and examples, and I believe we even touched upon the observations you make in your first paragraph.

Since you were apparently not confused by what Childress said in his blog, I assume you mentioned it because you agree with his point of view.

And that's fine. Still, I do hope forum members here take a challenge to visit both blogs. I think looking closely at tone is a must, as well as keeping a running tally of the number of insults, distortions, and ad hominem attacks one finds. Members should also carefully compare which blog presents empirical evidence and which relies on emotional venting. Ask plenty of questions, too -- like which blog has a sense of humor? What longstanding ties do the individual bloggers have to various people managing or judging the competitions? Which blog plays a whistleblower role by presenting controversial, even unpopular issues relevant to fractal art and artists -- and which one merely responds negatively to the issues raised by the other in order to keep the status quo safe and its established power structure intact?
sharkrey's avatar
sharkrey Digital Artist
"For many people outside our community, the only contact they have with fractal art comes from buying the Fractal Universe Calendar." -- and you have data supporting tha claim? Or is this a guess?
cruelanimal's avatar

It's a logical deduction. I suppose Alice Kelley's Fractal Cosmos calendar -- which is also widely distributed -- might be another example. But the Fractal Universe calendar is the only mass marketed commercial product featuring fractals that is culled from a selection of contemporary fractal artists and pitched to the public as being at least somewhat representational of the art form. I don't know of any other examples. Can you think of any?

Of course, I'm not counting people who go to the trouble of actually Googling "fractals" -- let alone those who visit online galleries or art communities like deviantART. Obviously, such people have an interest or curiosity in the phenomena beyond just stumbling onto the FU calendar and its saturated spirals in their local Barnes & Noble bookstore.
sharkrey's avatar
sharkrey Digital Artist
"It's a logical deduction." -- translated, guess.
cruelanimal's avatar
"Can you think of any?"

No answer. Translated: Evasion.
sharkrey's avatar
sharkrey Digital Artist
"Members should also carefully compare which blog presents empirical evidence" -- empirical; derived from observation, experience or experiment rather than from conjecture, hypothesis or theory.

Part of your argument rests on the claim that "For many people outside our community, the only contact they have with fractal art comes from buying the Fractal Universe Calendar" to which I say that is simply a guess. My logical deduction (guess) would be that if you had 1000 people that were aware of fractals/fracart that did not come to that awareness through some sort of involment in the community, the percentage of that 1000 that became aware of fracs through the calendar would be insignificantly low. Along the order of maybe, 10? I contend that 1 percent is not many.

My point being that, without data backing your claim, your argument is rather flimsy. A "mountain out of a molehill" would be my logicallly deducted analogy.

Your argument has the appearence of being based not on empirical data but on emotions. Reminds me of the college joke about the difference between a slut and a bitch. A slut being someone that will screw anyone, a bitch being someone that will screw anyone but you.

Perhaps if you had an image included you would feel better?
cruelanimal's avatar

You demanded categorical data from me. Do you have any of your own to present? If so, reveal it. If not, then let's agree that you've provided nothing empirical to dispute my claims, and we are in the realm of opinions and not facts.

My guess, as you put it, is an educated one. Well reasoned speculation is not inherently false. If that were the case, then theologians, stockbrokers, editorial writers, critics, and scholars would all be out of business.

I laid out my ideas with specificity and in a deductive chain of reasoning. You've merely overgeneralized and completely misinterpreted what I said in my first response to you. This is what I actually wrote:

But the Fractal Universe calendar is the only mass marketed commercial product featuring fractals that is culled from a selection of contemporary fractal artists and pitched to the public as being at least somewhat representational of the art form.

Clearly, my example is of a commercial product that presents a representative sampling of contemporary fractal art. Again, I ask you: Can you think of any other more significant example(s) of such a thing besides the Fractal Universe Calendar?

By all means, run that empirical survey of those 1000 people and get back with me when you have definitive findings. Only be sure to ask the question correctly and please use my example as I wrote it.

Personally, I find your college joke in bad taste. I would think most of the female artists in this community would find it offensive. The joke, in no way, says anything about what I wrote, but it probably says something about you.
sharkrey's avatar
sharkrey Digital Artist
beebee127's avatar
Happy Saturday.

I have to take issue with your concerns about how the general population perceives fractal art. Frankly, I doubt many outside the community really care. What attracts those who purchase the calendar are the pretty spirals and bright colors, and I'm sure you'd agree with that. I think they're a glorious way to introduce fractals to the masses. But I doubt most of those viewers will ever be interested in learning more. Those, like me, who are fascinated and want to know more will certainly find a way to learn more of the possibilities. There is certainly enough information available to those who care to find it.

As far as fairness in the image selection for the calendar, I'd say that since it is a private enterprise, and the editor has accepted payment of a guaranteed image, the balance actually becomes unfair. Compensation for months of work is nothing more than any of the others receive for only submitting. That's not fair, but that's really not our business, is it?

Have a good weekend, and a cheery Easter. :)
misterxz's avatar
im sorry beebee but i have to agree with cruelanimal here, limiting the calendar to just spirals with shiney dots around them is not portraying what our art is all about. They should include fractal art that is diverse. Actually they shouldnt even only include fractal art because thats to restricted, they should include any art.. and photos! and also the calendar should be printed in braille so the blind can read it... and it must be printed in every language, even made up ones. and each page should be an lcd screen so you can load your own images onto it. also it should be made of hemp paper so at the end of the year i can roll it up and smoke it.

just my opinion.
WelshWench's avatar
Hey, I'd buy that one ;)
lyc's avatar
i think many people in the fractal art community might ;)

beebee127's avatar
silly boy :D
cruelanimal's avatar
Some of us in the fractal community have reservations about the manner in which both the Fractal Universe Calendar and the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest are run. While blogging at Orbit Trap, we have written extensively to detail why the protocols of both competitions should be carefully examined in regard to professionalism, favoritism, ethical breaches, and conflicts of interest.

I understand this is a controversial topic in some quarters -- but it is one that profoundly affects all of us as artists and the genre of fractal art as a whole. As such, the manner in which these competitions are managed should be carefully scrutinized and openly discussed.

We have a right to speak out -- even if what we say upsets some of you and challenges the status quo. We did not come here to argue. We came here only to share information.

Please visit our blog, consider our arguments, and draw your own conclusions. Thank you.

Terry Wright
Tim Hodkinson


Orbit Trap:

--On the Fractal Universe Calendar:


The Price of Professionalism:

The Fractal Universe Alternate Calendar 2008:

There are many more posts about both competitions in the Orbit Trap archives.
WelshWench's avatar
If you are so genuinely and sincerely concerned about how ONE commercial publishing venture manages its business with respect to the Fractal Universe Calendar, why don't you contact the publisher direct?

Here you go:
Avalanche Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 55
Delafield, WI 53018
Toll Free Phone: 866.366.2168
Phone: 262.646.7956
Fax: 262.646.7952

Alternatively, you could approach AP with a suggestion for the type of fractal calendar you think you should be made available, or approach another publisher, or you could self-publish.

I've had the pleasure (and I use that term loosely) of reading all the posts & the published comments on this topic on OT. Not once have I seen you or your co-author make a sensible, positive and practical suggestion for an alternative, let alone take the bull by the horns and start your own competition and exhibition. Go on: put your time, your money and your effort into showing people how you think it should be done. Of course, if you did that, then your own rules would forbid you displaying your own work: how's that for a lose/lose situation?

You said in another comment:
"For many people outside our community, the only contact they have with fractal art comes from buying the Fractal Universe Calendar. As such, it embodies how fractal art is represented in the public mind. Are you happy with the scope and breadth of that representation? Or do you worry that the calendar presents a limited style and a confined aesthetics?"

Rubbish! I know very many people whose exposure to fractal art comes the same way mine did: from seeing the variety of fractal art styles posted in online galleries and on personal websites. You could make similar generalised and fatuous comments about any publication on art or about any art exhibition (juried or otherwise).
cruelanimal's avatar

I already had the address for Avalanche, but I appreciate the gesture. I thought it more proper to go through a kind of chain of command. So, first, I've written this year's Fractal Universe Calendar editor to repeat the same questions I asked on an earlier post [link] to Orbit Trap. The FAQ at the FU Calendar main site [link] notes that: "We hope you will find that your questions have already been anticipated and answered. If not, please contact us. We will try to answer you personally, and add your question with it's answer to this page -- here. Where necessary, we will contact the publisher on your behalf for clarification."

So, if the editor is unable to answer any or all of my questions, then I assume she will contact the publisher, thus saving me the time and trouble of having to do it myself. To date, though, I've had no response to my inquiry from the editor.

Why should I go to the trouble to reinvent the wheel by having to create and manage my own contest? Isn't it just easier to fix the ones we have and run them fairly and professionally using conventional operating procedures?

Besides, I've already answered this question from you and others. I used the analogy of laws. Although I don't write the laws, as I citizen I expect them to be fair -- and, if they are unfair, I have the right to speak out. The same applies to these competitions. Although I did not create them, as a fractal artist I expect them to be fair -- and when they are unfair, I have the right to say so.

And, in a reality check, are you really arguing that in order to offer any criticism of anything, one must also do the very thing one is criticizing? By this logic, before I can justifiably critique a presidential candidate, I must also run for president myself? I can't complain about the food in a restaurant unless I'm willing to barge into the kitchen and cook the same meal? I can't sue my neurosurgeon for a botched job unless I also take a crack at operating on my own brain? Is this your argument? Seriously?

And, as Damien M. Jones once noted, [link] I am "doing something" -- something I believe is in all of our best interests. I am trying, very hard, and under a steady barrage of heckling and insults from people like you, to do what I can to see that our main fractal art competitions are run professionally. I think all of us should insist the FU Calendar and the BMFAC begin using widely accepted protocols that are standard throughout the larger art community.

I have judged many literary contests and a few art competitions. In none of them was my own work included. If I had the desire to start my own contest, you can be certain I would not include my own art or writing. I don't consider that trade-off to be "lose/lose." Instead, I believe such a stance must be expected professional behavior for ethical curators, judges, editors, and contest managers.

Did you not read my first response to sharkrey? Again, here is what I actually wrote:

But the Fractal Universe calendar is the only mass marketed commercial product featuring fractals that is culled from a selection of contemporary fractal artists and pitched to the public as being at least somewhat representational of the art form.

As I pointed out to sharkrey, I was very clear: I am only talking about exposure to fractals from commercial products (like the FUC) featuring a collection of artists and marketed as being at least somewhat representational of contemporary fractal art.

Were those websites and galleries you mentioned commercial ventures? Were you charged a fee to view them? Did they feature a collection of artists who claimed indirectly to embody the state of fractal art? Could any of them be said to be "mass marketed" like a book, CD, or calendar?

If not, then my points are not rubbish. Instead, you've taken my remarks completely out of context.
WelshWench's avatar
In the context of the entirety of OT's blog posts about the calendar and about the BMFAC, I have not taken your remarks out of context. You, however, have chosen to present your point of view here in a somewhat different manner to way you (both) did on OT, where your posts were as much directed towards perceived ethical wrongdoings on the part of those involved as they were to the events themselves. You appear to have decided to drop that tactic. Pardon my cynicism if I suggest this change of tack is because (a) your original approach has already failed and (b) you are not on your 'home turf' here.

Indeed, in one OT response to me, it was said "Orbit Trap is the only place on the internet where you can get honest opinions on the fractal world. And that's why folks like you, Ken and Thomas love to hate us. You're part of a sick online "community" where cliques and in-groups try to control and bully everyone who's different, or thinks differently, than they do. " This statement - so ridiculous as to be laughable - illustrates well OT's view of many fractal artists. You've taken pains in this thread to leave your insults at OT but you are, I am sure, intelligent enough to know that those insults have gained you no friends and hugely reduced the credibility you might otherwise have had.

The calendar is a commercial venture. The publishers know what sells and they continue to offer that type of imagery. That is their prerogative and it is highly presumptuous of anyone to assume that they do so because they are ignorant about what else might be on offer. The images in the calendar are as representative of contemporary fractal art as any: they just don't happen to be the type of images you like. That is why I suggested you should start your own - and you know that. Instead of railing about a single commercial venture you should be, at the very least, offering suggestions for alternatives.

This whole thing reminds me of the critical furore which surrounded the artist Jack Vettriano: he was rubbished and derided by the critics because the poor man had the misfortune to be popular.

You may have drooped the insults but you persist in being disingenuous.
cruelanimal's avatar

I can write out my points. I can show you what I've written. But, apparently, I can't make you carefully read what I've actually written.

This is how I write, although sometimes I use humor and sarcasm on Orbit Trap to make specific points. I am writing a blog, after all. As for changing my tactics, I'll let anyone curious about your claim just visit Orbit Trap [link] and decide for themselves. While there, they maybe should sift through the archives and take a peek at your tactics and those of some of your friends.

Home turf? I've been discussing fractal art in various places on the Net for over ten years. I thought this was an art community. Don't the fractal artists on deviantART value discussion of important issues like this one? I was unaware I needed permission from you to come through the door and participate here.

Publishers can indeed elect to publish what they choose. The problem is not that the FUC is a commercial venture. The problem is the mechanism by which it is run. The format is a competition. As such, I'm pointing out that it should therefore be managed professionally and according to the ethical standards commonly accepted for art competitions. I've shown that it does not do so. If it was run like a true publishing operation, there would be no competition, and its editor would contact artists directly and solicit material from them. Under no circumstances, would the editor's work be included in what was selected for publication. If the FUC were run in this manner, I would have no problems with it. Of course, I've said all of this previously on OT. You claim to have read everything posted on our blog, so I can't understand how you could have missed this explanation.

It is irrelevant whether the FUC is popular -- and it sort of seemed to me that both you and sharkrey were arguing earlier that the calendar was barely seen by anyone and had little impact on public perceptions of our genre. What matters is how the project is administered. Your example of Vettriano does not apply here.

The comment you boldface was actually written by my blogging partner Tim. Since he is the author, you should probably take your concerns up with him. An email address for Orbit Trap is clearly visible on the blog. I will say, though, that you've taken him out of context -- just as you did some of my earlier remarks here. You know very well he was not talking about "many fractal artists," but only the small conclave of you and some of your friends pertaining to specific behavior on Orbit Trap. Having witnessed that same behavior myself, I'd have to agree with him.

I wish I had better news about these contests. I'm sorry if what I point out upsets people. I'm upset, too. But for all your talk that I am "insulting and disingenuous" (and "fatuous" and whatever else), I question whether I've insulted anyone here. I'll leave it to others to decide whether you have insulted me.
anonymous's avatar
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