Jim Read

The art of fractals - trainspotter turned artist Jim Read tries to explain this technological art

I'm usually asked about the Fractals first and what are they and I have to reply I haven't the faintest idea, but they do from time to time look quite startling. An awkward silence follows this and I try to explain that some deep mathematical concepts appear to be behind them, but I am at a loss to even begin to understand those. Which only makes things worse though I do add somewhat brightly that it can take my computer a whole day to render one.

Makes me look a complete nerd, I do wear an anorak and I did used to spot trains, but like a lot of things that has Gone With Regret.

In 1988 or thereabouts I bought a camera and found a photogenic area off Hurst Street here in Birmingham where I poked my camera in the faces of the people who hung out there. Eventually I persuaded the manager of a shopping centre to give me an empty unit for a couple of weeks for an exhibition.

That as these things do led to other exhibitions and I proceeded quite happily along this path for a dozen or so years. The web entered my consciousness in about 2000 and I found dear old eBay and thought aha I can sell my stuff for a change instead of forking out for exhibitions. And sell I did for a number of years and enjoyed every minute of it.

The fractals had run alongside the selling, trying the various programs and wondering why they produced absolute rubbish at one sitting and something extraordinary the next. More software appeared on my horizon and this with the ability to layer images one on top of the other and to make the layers transparent in varying degrees, this alone made variations to the power of several digits.

Combined with these effects, lighting and texture creation and the figure goes into the hundreds. This act of creating art using photography and software is by its very nature relatively new as well as complex and because of that littered with the cliff edge of failure that I fall over regularly. My answer to this is to search out simplicity - I constantly scan the ground at my feet, the walls I walk past and the timber I brush against. I look for the colour I can use for the basis of my images and record it with my camera. I look for texture and line and its position in the frame of a finished image. I look for the angle of the light and the way it briefly brings the most mundane object into the realms of the extraordinary.

 Sitting in front of my screen I am entranced when several layers of images and colours coupled with a seemingly incompatible fractal meld into something that even my nerdish mind finds quite mystical. These moments of creative bliss are the 'highs' that make life the precious thing it is.

I hope exhibiting my work on ArtGallery.co.uk will bring it to the attention of more people. To know that the pictures are being browsed and enjoyed by others is one thing, but for customers of this fantastic “exhibition” on the web to buy my art will be a great bonus!

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