Artist Mike Campbell tried to explain how he creates his fractal art to visitors at the July 17 artist's reception at Pine River Valley Bank in Bayfield.
Eyes glazed over as people tried to understand. Sometimes it's best just to enjoy and not get hung up with the details.
Campbell works at the Miners and Merchants Bank in Lake City, which is owned by PRVB. He said he "opens new accounts or whatever they tell me. I keep the ATM working, because we live in a tourist town."
He's been doing fractal art for about 20 years, since there have been personal computers, even before they came with hard drives. It's a memory-sucking process, so back then it took an extremely long time, like a week, to create an image.
It still takes a long time by current standards. Campbell said he works on three computers at a time so he can be doing something while another machine is tied up processing.
He defined fractal art as "repetition (of a pattern) on an infinite scale."
There is software that does this. Some costs money, but Campbell said he uses software that is available free, created by artists for artists. "You can pay for fractal software, but why?" he asked.
He said he creates the design small and then blows it up much larger. He chooses the colors or combinations of colors.
The patterns come from mathematical formulas. "I experimented with taking two formulas and combining them, then a hybrid with two other formulas," he said. He passed out an "explanation" of fractals from coolmath.com, consisting of four pages of math.
Campbell works with a friend who has a printing business in Lake City to print out the designs. He can provide designs in different sizes to suit the buyer, 11x17 inches or somewhat smaller, up to around 30x40 inches. The small ones are priced in the $15-$20 range unframed.
Campbell's show has been extended to display at the bank through Saturday, Aug. 2. His e-mail is email@example.com. His web site is http://mcampbellfractalgallery.blogspot.com. For those who have been struggling to decide on a design to buy from the bank display, be forewarned: there are far more choices on the web site.