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About Fractals

Welcome to Fractallicious! This web site contains fractal artwork created by Pam Blackstone. The images you see here are made with various software tools. They take infinite colors and forms and include the fractals themselves, along with fractal mandalas and kaleidoscopic background patterns. A carefully chosen fractal or mandala can make a powerful design statement, as can a kaleidoscopic pattern swatch used alone. Used in tiled repeats, horizontally or vertically, these patterns create elegant and unusual borders, backgrounds, and other design elements. See our portfolio for samples.

What Are Fractals?

A fractal is a geometric object created from a specific type of mathematical formula. As such, fractal art is — quite literally — the visual expression of an abstract numeric concept. As such, fractal art is unlike any other art form.

Mystical, playful, seductive, fractal art explores themes of chaos, repetition, and infinity. Alternately bold and vibrant, delicate and wispy, fractal art always provokes wonder and fascination.

Fractals are characterized by repetition and self-similarity, at any level of magnification. They have strong distinguishing characteristics and visual motifs, often featuring loops, arcs, spirals, and other shapes and revealing increasing detail as you zoom into the fractal structure.

Fractals in Nature

It’s no accident that fractal art often resembles creatures and objects from the natural world. Fractals abound in nature, with self-similarity occuring in everything from flowers, ferns, and feathers to mountains, clouds, coastlines, snowflakes — even the human circulatory system. There are some scientists, in fact, who believe that the world itself is fractal in nature!

History of Fractals

Fractal art is a child of the computing era. Though mathematicians were exploring themes of repetition and self-similarity as early as the 17th century, fractals remained mostly theoretical until the advent of computers in the late 1970s. It took the speed and power of 20th century computers  to fully explore the fascinating and beautiful effects observed when a surprisingly simple mathematical formula reiterates thousands of times.

The Mathematics Behind Fractal Art

Fractals derive from a field of mathematics called fractal geometry. Initially, fractal geometry was greeted with skepticism by classically trained mathematicians, many of whom were adherents of classical Euclidean geometry — a world of straight lines, curves, and finite quantities. Fractal geometry deals with rough or irregular shapes, infinite complexity, and self-similarity.

Fractals perform looping calculations with real and imaginary numbers, which are plotted in something called the complex number plane. Usually, thousands or even millions of iterations are involved, and when computers take over these calculations, amazing shapes and patterns begin to appear.