© 2003 Tina Coggins

Tina Coggins is an artist and graphic/web designer living on the central coast of California. She writes about one of her inspired pieces, "After Mahler":

What possible music can be the backdrop to the story of one's life when one is so enmeshed in drama? I'd been in the mood for a thunderstorm.  Not a few cracks and rumbles, but full on, orchestrated-by-God, hair-on-end symphonies of ear-splitting celestial cracks of the whip and bass drum solos. 

A fellow artist friend and I many times discuss our art, or motivations, successes, failures -- the gamut. And one thing we've both found is that many times when working with fractals, we end up with something that exactly matches our moods and desires at the time. "After Mahler" was certainly that for me.

Artist's Statement

Fractals have been a passion of mine since the summer of 1998. Having a background in Fine Art, I was captivated by the colors and blends one can achieve with fractals that are almost impossible to achieve with paint and canvas. I was always into realism, and have been drawing portraits ever since childhood, when my grade school and high-school friends requested pictures of themselves.

Art classes in high-school turned into college art and graphics classes, only increasing my love for drawing and painting, and for intense color. I have worked in many mediums, and am partial to Conté Crayons, Pencil, Pastels, Pen and Ink, Colored Pencils, and Acrylics. It was in college that I grew to appreciate abstract and non-objective art, as well as the realism and op art I've always had an affinity for. Never had I seen a fractal, though.

Coming across Don Archer's fractal site when I first went digital in '98 was riveting to the point of epiphany over the possibilities. I became addicted, spending hours poring over fractal gallery sites and trying my hand at creating my own.  Due to shoulder injuries and Carpal-Tunnel surgeries, I am no longer able to create much art using traditional medium; at the time I discovered fractals, I had already been creating digital art for several years. Rather than painting on large canvases, I focused on digital illustrations and found them rather satisfying (even though I sometimes miss 'getting my hands dirty' from paints or pastels.

Long has the question, "what is art?" been the subject of discussion between artists.  Now, the questions, "is digital art, art?" and "are fractals art?" have been added to the discussion. 

It has always seemed silly to me, as an artist before I ever even touched a computer, to draw lines in the cyber-sand regarding the validity of digital and fractal art as art.  After all, what is a computer but a tool, much like the pencil or pen?  In the hands of an artist, it will create art, just as surely as a paintbrush will.  My concern is with the art itself, not so much the media used to create it.  Does it move me in some way? If so, then I consider it art.

What does move me, quite often, is color and its vibration levels.  Fractals -- beautiful, evocative and compelling as they can be, are one vehicle to that end; the one I've chosen to focus on for a good, long time.


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