root2art home

Best of Root2art: digital art and contemporary design

Artwork and design numbered in no particular order

116bit Triad
Repeating Pattern Art
Repeating Pattern Art

Repeating Pattern Art Begins Life In Niagara Motel

I composed the back layer to this piece in 2004 in a seedy motel room in Niagara Falls, Canada using a compass, rule, pencil and paper I bought from a Dollar store. These are not my usual tools of the trade, but I had found myself at a lose end without my computer after being refused entry into the US on the basis that I 'violated' my visa on a previous trip some years before. My family, who all have US citizenship, gained entry and went ahead of me taking with them my hardware.

I gave the work the title 'New Direct Sadness' which is now used on another piece. The name might suggest I became depressed by my situation, but actually I tend to thrive on unexpected situations and the possibility for un planned adventure. In this instance I rented a wreck and drove the 2000k up to the top of Quebec to see an old friend. Unfortunately, our meeting was cut short by a bereavement in his family and at the same time I also became quite sick with tonsillitis. On my return to Niagara, after spending a few days sleeping in my wreck, I decided to set up shop in a the seedy motel, where I became determined to create something positive out of a sequence of unfortunate circumstance.

A warning to rock-climbing travellers' trying to gain entry to the US: The fancy digital fingerprint scanner they used at the border could only pick up one of my fingers as having a readable print. Having previously been on a climbing trip and significantly trashed my digits, the equipment could only come up with 'scar tissue'. Needless to say this compounded the various issues the border police already had with me.

2I Cannot Say It
Spiritual and Religious Art
Spiritual and Religious Art

Who can say what goes into my work.
Not even I would say it
The Ďgoings iní mean nothing in the balance
The work represents itself
It is the manifest invention, a religious practice

Soft Spiritual Art and Arvo Part

I've been a big fan of the music of Estonian composer Arvo Part for many years. I've sought in vane on many occasions to find a mode of expression that's in tune with the feelings Part's music enables me to access. I cannot say what these feelings are, only I'd love to be able to express them.

I'm sure its a mistake to think that anything other than Arvo Part's music can evoke what Arvo Part's music does evoke, but it doesn't stop me trying. Actually, I think I am quite confused about the emotional spaces accessed by music and those spaces reached through visual art. Maybe in some respects they are very different and in others the same thing. This is a bit of a non-statement, but as I said, I am confused.

Art Sculpture
2D - 3D Art Sculpture

How Realise A 3D Sculpture With 2D DNA?

I am very fond of this work although it has troubled me for many years. It took a full year to conceive and yet if you only include the time it took to design the individual element that survive today you could say the whole thing took just 10 mins to come into being. Of course without the 1000s of hrs learning what was essential and what was not the important 10 mins would never of happened.

The piece was never destined to become a sculpture. For much of its evolution it was 2D. It was actually through this 2D development that I arrived at the many of the key properties of what would later become the Root2Art visual language. So really I didn't just spend thousands of hours working on this project with a single result. Looking back I was actually working towards creating the foundation to new personal way of approaching art making, with this sculpture being a byproduct of that creative journey. This, i guess, is why i am still so attached to it.

I like to see how 3D structures fit together and transmit physical forces. In great built objects I love to see how and why the component parts of a structure are engineered for maximum efficiency. In truth, none of these considerations were part of the DNA of this sculpture. The real DNA of this work has its origins in my fascination with compression and tensile forces as well as geometry, but all within a 2D plane. It is very much an abstract form with no roots in 3D physical evolution. This is my problem, the only way I can see to make it is to cast it. For me a cast reveals very little about the processes and forces that brought it into being, which are in this case processes and forces from another dimension. You will see that the sculpture is essentially an extruded 2D template. Maybe a 4m height by 4m wide extruding die is the real answer!

4Festooned Tubis
Mozart's Wreath Art
Mozart's Wreath Art

Remembering Mozart And My Own Priorities Before I Die

I try to live this life as if I only have a few months left to enjoy it. Trying to believe I only had a few days left would be simply impractical and a few years might mean I would put off important things. A few months is a good balance. As far as I am aware I am perfectly healthy and if I was more conventional in my approach to life, maybe I would think about starting a pension for my retirement in 40 years time or finding ways of increasing my income to acquire more material comfort and security for my family. But in all honesty I never entertain this kind of thinking. These things do not even appear on my priority list.

So what does appear on my 'things-to-do-before-I-die-in-a-few-months list'. #1 would have to be 'prepare myself for death'. I'm a Buddhist and I believe that training my mind to best negotiate, understand and enjoy life is also the best preparation for death. #2 would be to become a better artist. Not a famous or richer artist, but an artist who makes better art. #3 would be just to continue living with my family which happens naturally giving me great pleasure and fulfillment and is something I don't feel I or we, could do any better or worse.

Oh yes, and one more thing I care passionately about, which is a bit of a sideline to what I really want to talk about, is providing my family with good, nutritious food. I believe this is a very fundamental responsibility as a parent, along side teaching my kids to respect other people. I kind of figure, if I can teach my kids to enjoy Brussels Spouts and be nice to everyone they meet they won't go far wrong. Seeing the 7 wonders of the world, skydiving and the like have no special meaning for me.

Mozart in all this has special significance for me at #2. Mozart I feel - and I don't speak from any position of musical authority - produced his greatest music when he knew his days were numbered. I think maybe the more famous an artist becomes the more difficult it would be to reach the depths of their creativity. Maybe also in some cases, the knowledge that 'this is my last attempt' is the only thing that provides the fierce concentration needed to look and create from the very pit of the sole. So remembering Mozart and his tragic death at the age of 37 is a way for me to bring home the, actually very real possibility, that I may be making my last work of art.

Mozart Inspired Symmetric Invention

This is a burst from a current animation project. In it I'm exploring animated equivalents to symmetric inventions found in musical language. Mozart comes in here also, as his music is absolutely full of symmetry. This project will unfold as it grows on a dedicated animation page I shall put up in the next few weeks.

Abstract Pattern Composition
Abstract Pattern Composition

New Digital Forms From Fusty Old Archives And Outmoded Processes

The inner part of this composition defined within the heavy black border is a piece I created in 2000. This was still in the days before I was using a computer to develop my art. All my work was derived using a compass and rule and rendered using pencil crayon and ink on paper. The one or two works I would produce a year that I felt represented a distinct artistic juncture, I painted with acrylic or enamel onto prepared board. Looking back, this whole process now seems ridiculously labor intensive and crude although at the time I felt it was quite direct and effective.

I still have a mountain of fusty smelling card mounted studies I made between 1995 and 2001. I'm not sure what gives them their distinct odor - it could be the type of crayon or adhesive I used perhaps. The musty smell however, that imbues this archived material evokes a feeling in me of a mysterious bygone day. Looking through the large box I keep them in is a bit like rummaging through an old relatives shed years after it was last visited. I do pull out these relics maybe a couple of times a year as they are a treasure trove of rejected ideas, that sometimes fit a new themes of work. This is why I hoard all my past studies. On paper alone I have recorded many thousands of geometric relationships and visual ideas, and on my pc there are tens of thousands of variations and unresolved studies. The ones of my hard drive however, do not stink. Not literally anyway!

The central eight-shaped figure in this composition was the seed from which the rest of the work grew. Typically most of my works grow outward like this from a central motif. The central figure here, I call Polar-coaxis because it is constructed of geometrically related families of concentric circles, the centers of which share single axes. The geometry that relates these groups of circles was a revelation to me at the time and the subsequent visual language that grew out of it was also a big personal departure. As I continually recycle old works and mix and match old and new elements it would be difficult to appreciate looking though my work today, what a mile stone this picture represents to me. This was the start of Root2Art 2.0. Ironically, the original Polar-coaxis was the last picture I ever painter before I ventured into the digital ether.

6SVG Logo

SVG Logo Contest Success

I very rarely enter art or design contests unless my work fits naturally within the brief. If I attempt to bend my work to what I feel the judges will be looking for then my work soon losers its integrity. The geometric grammar and formal compositional methods I employ in my work is what gives it its distinct character. Visual language like spoken language needs grammar, meter and conventions to enable communication and facilitate universal and free expression. Any adjustment I make to the evolved Root2Art grammatical DNA needs to be very well considered, otherwise only the ugliest deformities will result. Small mutations however, are what lead to new directions when on the rare occasion they result in a stronger variation. So maybe I should just stop making abstract excuses and enter more competitions.

Deciding to enter the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) contest was very easy for me, as my own artistic concerns matched very closely with what was asked for. My work have evolved from the fundamental tools of vector graphics. I'm fascinated with scalability - when I am developing all my pieces I continually examine the works as a thumbnail to access the overall tonal architecture. For me, clarity, simplicity and logic are the keys to invention and sensuality and effect are not something I avoid, but handle very carefully. This is all in tune with what the judges were looking for and as a result I won! How cool is that?

7Manifold Unfolding
Multiple Orientation Composition

Up And Down And Round And Round In Art Composition

This was a composite layout from a series of rigid tablets I was once considering putting into print. The idea started as a book, but ended up as a collection of small cards with no set orientation. I liked the idea of being able to turn the cards on their side or up-side-down to reveal new dynamics. Flipping compositions horizontally and vertically is a method I use frequently when composing to get a fresh look at what is developing. I find that if the composition is strong that it is always a shock when it is flipped Ė a surprise at how different it looks. Even when the composition is based in symmetric invention. If the composition is not working because it lacks tension and movement, it is also apparent when flipped, as nothing exciting is revealed.

For many years Iíve had a theory that strong visual compositions have a weight to them. That is, they have an almost physical stability. Maybe the one above is not the best example to talk about this as it never really had a specific orientation designed into it. For me, there is also an clockwise movement dynamic in almost all great composition. Maybe this is different for someone who is left-handed or if you live in the southern hemisphere :). I donít know the physics, but I wonder if a bath full of water, when the plug is pulled responds to the very subtle force created by the spinning earth, because it is passing from a state of almost perfect equilibrium. And, maybe when the body and mind are also in a state of balance and equilibrium it also feels this subtle influence. Not sure if this has anything to do with the clockwise rotational vitality I seek in my own work, but its interesting none-the-less.

But seriously, gravity effects everything with mass. Things in nature, at least on the scale we can see them with the naked eye, have a top and bottom. I feel art also works best when it fits into this order. When a composition looks stable with a distinct top and bottom, it looks natural and somehow correct. Iíve made compositions that are perfectly symmetric about the horizontal and vertical axes and they do have an other worldly quality. They evoke the macro and micro worlds, such as atoms and celestial bodies. Iíve had very few successes going down this extreme root. The Root2Art approach is to actually explores the Ďnaturalí dynamics of up and down and the multiple symmetries of the (micro and macro) world simultaneously.

8Node Framing System
Custom Node Framing System
Custom Node Framing System

Root2Art Custom Node Framing System

I've spent a lot of time this year developing a archival framing system for my digital prints. This is my attempt to make a display system for the 21st Century and not just hack a frame from the pre-digital era to try buff up my prints. A lot of art made in the last century is already falling to pieces and fading. My other aim with this combined print and frame media was to engineer a product that would last for many centuries without deterioration. This has proved to be quite a challenge.

9Origin Jam

10Root2art Digital Mural

Root2Art In Real Space

In am digital artist and am primarily interested in exploring digital spaces as a means of getting my work onto flesh and blood retinas. It saves a lot of faffing around and this way I get more time to make new art. My work does however, leave my hard drive on occasions and venture into the muddy vestige of decay.