Tree fractals

March 7, 2011


As I was waiting for the train to work last Friday morning and looking around for things to take Instagram pictures of to kill time, I had the sudden feeling that one of my favorite things about winter here in the deciduous northern hemisphere is seeing the bare trees reaching toward the sky and knowing that what I see above ground is happening below ground as well.

I hadn’t thought of tree branches as fractals until I saw an episode of Nova a few weeks ago, but I have known for a very long time that trees have root systems underground that are equivalent to their branch systems above. As I stared at the beautiful, veiny, starkness of the winter bare branches, I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of the symmetrical happenings in the dirt.

I didn’t have time to leave the train platform to take photos of the trees that were uncluttered by power lines, apartment highrises or other impediments, but the images stayed in my memory all weekend and were the inspiration for this illustration based on tracings of my hands.


A smidge for your fridge

January 16, 2011


Today was one of those rare occasions when I made art for the sake of making art. You have my permission to print out this picture and hang it on your refrigerator, because that’s why I created it.

As you’ve learned from previous entries, woodcut is my preferred medium for art-making. But for work as a graphic designer, I used to have to illustrate simple stories and did so with photo and clip art, such as in the Billy Goat Can Float book. I didn’t usually have to draw stuff from scratch though, it was just a matter of combining elements. That’s fun, too.

Today, however, I created this original illustration in Adobe Illustrator and jazzed it up a bit in Photoshop. Guess what, it’s a rabbit.

Has anybody printed it out and hung it on their refrigerator? I have no idea. But I did. Yes, those are rabbit-shaped magnets holding it up, and there are many other rabbit things present on my fridge. I also have some bowling achievement magnets, a few Minnesota Twins baseball things, ephemera from my favorite radio station, The Current, and a few beer items. Oh, and my guest pass sticker from the day I visited my friend who works at Yahoo.

My new picture definitely brightens things up. I printed out an extra one for my mom. Well, it’s actually an extra that I thought I was printing with a border, but the rule only showed up on one edge. But I know she’ll like it. She hasn’t had refrigerator art from me since the mid-seventies.