Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012

June 9, 2013

I think anyone in a creative trade could take some advice from, and even enjoy, Neil Gaiman:

Hattip: Neil Gaiman’s Journal

Picture of the Day

August 19, 2009

Francis Bacon: Head VIFrancis Bacon: Head VI (1949). The picture reminds me of the group Screaming Headless Torsos I once dug.

Picture of the Day

May 1, 2009

How Blood Works

“How Blood Works” (2007), Kim Hiorthøy.

Hat-tip: Standard (Oslo)

The Mandelbrot Fractal

January 5, 2009

The Mandelbrot Fractal

Nassim Nicholas Taleb mentions Benoît Mandelbrot in his latest book, ‘The Black Swan’. I was surprised to learn that Mandelbrot has worked in a number of different fields in addition to mathematics. He is, however, best known as a mathematician and the ‘father of fractal geometry.’ Maybe the best known fractal of all is the Mandelbrot fractal. (A fractal, by the way, is, loosely speaking, a mathematical structure that is self-similar on all scales; they are often products of iterative procedures.) The Mandelbrot Fractal is generated from the very simple iterative equation

Mandelbrot Equation

I won’t go into the details, but the equation above illustrates the simplicity, and it is almost magical how such a simple equation can generate such complexity one finds in the Mandelbrot Fractal. (If you are interested in the details, go to the Mathworld page from the link above.) The pictures of the Mandelbrot Fractal in this post are all stolen from Wikipedia (sorry!), and they say more than a thousand words; the Mandelbrot is magical!

A zoom on the Mandelbrot

I once wrote a small program that drew the Mandelbrot set (okay, I got some help with the programming, and due to limited computing power it had to be an approximation; it looked good though). It was written in Delphi‘s implementation of the Object Pascal programming language. The program is currently trapped in an old, unconnected hard-drive, but I’ll upload it whenever I get around to it. In the meantime, you should google for Mandelbrot images and post links to the most beautful ones in the comment section!

UPDATE: I had to add another image and link to the Wikipedia page dedicated to the Mandelbrot itself. Check out the zoom animations; truly amazing!


Painting of the day

November 5, 2008

Aftur av gravarferd

In desparate efforts to avoid working on my thesis, I found the above painting on my computer today. The painting is called ‘Aftur av gravferð’ (Something like ‘Return from a funeral,’ I think), painted by the Faroese Samuel Joensen-Mikines (1906-1979). He painted ‘Aftur av gravferð’ rather early in his life (1935); death was a central theme in his works (and his live) in this period. (More biographic details here, in Danish.)

I learned of this painting in a novel called ‘Buzz Aldrin’ of the young Norwegian Johan Harstad. In the novel, one of the characters suffer a psychological breakdown of some sort after seeing the painting in a museum (my recollection may be a bit off here; go read the book yourself). This stirred my curiosity, of course. I have to admit that the painting in full scale (237cm x 176 cm) probably would have an impact on me too (but then, I am easily moved). If you like to read, the book is commendable (I even think it is available in English). Harstad writes in long, winding sentences, sometimes streching over an entire page, which is demanding but rewarding. I have a tendency to adopt the writing style of however I’m reading at the moment, so outstanding writing styles like Harstad’s is potentially a double challenge to me. I start experimenting more with styles, however, which is positive. Anyway, much of ‘Buzz Aldrin’ is set on the Faroe Islands, and the landscape and environment is described in the book in high detail; it almost felt like I had been there after I had finished the book (Harstad has stayed there for long periods, as far as I understand). The funny thing is that soon after finishing the book I actually met someone from the Faroe Islands, and he could confirm that most of my impressions of Faroe Island nature was indeed correct. He even showed me pictures of some of the places that are central in the book. The pictures made the book come even more alive.

Back to Mikines, I find many of his paintings interesting (with my naive sense and knowledge of art). Particularly, I like his whale killing paintings, red and bloody. Whale killing (‘Grindadràp’, litterary ‘killing Grindwhale’) has long traditions on the Faroe Islands and is still done today according to my Faroese friend. (Interestingly, ‘grindadràp’ also features in Harstad’s novel.) I should go and view some of Mikines paintings in real life once. I would probably have to go to the Faroe Islands, though. Hm. Maybe grab a drink at Café Natur.

Crazy stuff, or Grace Jones is back

October 28, 2008

Grace Jones is back, it seems (linking to Dagbladet generates traffic; traffic is fun; mor fun than trafficing, for example). There is a lot of crazy stuff lying around out there on the web, and you find it when you least expect it. I googled Grace Jones and came across an imitation (or reconstruction, or tribute,  or cover picture (?) maybe) of a famous picture of her on

It doesn’t say who neither the model nor the photographer is; maybe it is the administrator of the webpage. I did not hang around long enough to figure out what kind of place is, but check it out, some of the artwork presented there is actually interesting. I liked the empty bookshelf. However, the short movie ‘Semiotics of the Kitchen’ (1975; Martha Rosler) is quite crazy (in a good sense). You have to watch it to the end to understand it, or, at least I had to (I’m not too smart).


Picture of the day

October 16, 2008

The photographer William Claxton is dead. I had never heard of him before I read he was dead, which is sad. I’ve never been a too much into photographic art, but I found his portrait of Chet Baker beautiful though. Particularly the contrast in light and focus. I think I have to go home and put on one of his records.


September 29, 2008

I discovered Jared Tarbell through the now obsolete Quiet Feather blog (a great blog, I am sorry they have put it to rest). Jared Tarbell is a visual artist, and seemingly he uses complex, mathematical algorithms to produce fantastic images. For some, he definetly uses fractals, an intruiging mathematical concept everyone should know a little about. I will probably write more on fractals later. In the meantime you can enjoy Tarbell’s art on his homepage Complexification.