> Please introduce yourself, in your own words. What are your interests?
My name is Sam, however I tend to go by ChaosFissure online. I'm currently a junior in college studying Applied Computer Science, with a concentration in video game design. There are a wide variety of things I enjoy doing: digital art, coding, game design, SCUBA diving, and being a roller coaster aficionado (at least in my younger years!) are just scratching the surface of what I like. I also enjoy trying to help out wherever I can; I get great satisfaction if I'm able to help someone learn something new, or share some of what I know. In the broad scope in life, I hope to apply what I learn to change the world in a positive way.
> Where did you begin with artistic endeavours? How did you come across Abstraction or Surrealism?
I originally started making signatures for a game forum four or five years ago, thanks to the encouragement and help of friends there. If it was not for them, I may have never rediscovered a passion for creating art, because the art taught in elementary school classes nearly ruined my respect for art entirely. Once I realised that art could be something I could channel my hyperactivity through, and wasn't solely a popularity contest, did I open myself to embracing art again. I gravitated to abstract and surreal 3-dimensional artwork that friends showed me: the wild colours, cool shapes, and overall feel it provided was incredibly captivating and didn't require physical realism. I eventually stumbled across deviantART, and happened across fractal art a short while later. It provided the same sense of discovery and awe, and was something I felt I had to pursue. Although I enjoy looking at art in a wide variety of media at present, the art I create myself tends to be more abstract.
> How would you explain the concept of Abstraction or Surrealism to someone with no experience with the genre?
To me, abstract artwork is work that contains wild concepts or ideas my mind stumbles across without needing to define them to someone else. I would have to define abstraction itself as 'hiding unnecessary information', or if you want a recursive definition, 'abstracting elements away'. As a result, it is interpretive and subjective to any individual viewer, and often elicits a stronger emotional response than physical recognition of the subject matter.
> What inspires you to use Abstraction or Surrealism in your work?
For me, abstraction is shaping and refining the chaos of my mind in some way, so it's a native thing for me to do. I can choose to focus on texture, colour, light, and shape, or a combination of those elements, at my own discretion. Most of the time, when I try to lock down what I create, I miss out on opportunities to discover new things and redefine, to myself, what art can be.
> What do you want to express with your artwork? What is the idea you're trying to put across?
I want to show that structure and order can be comprised of chaos, and conversely, organise chaos into something that looks interesting. I'm more interested in expressing texture, light, shape, and colour in ways that appeal to me than I am of having all of my art fit one overarching theme.
> What are your 'tools of the trade'? How do you create your art?
My computer and software on it are generally my tools of the trade. I generally use Apophysis for creating fractals, and Chaotica for rendering them. Other fractal-based works would be done within Ultrafractal; those have distinct stylistic differences from my pieces in Apophysis, however. I may use Photoshop for minor touch-ups. Sometimes I dabble with photography and other media, however I lack a set of 'rules' or 'guidance' to get me through the door enough for me to break free and explore on my own. Once I feel that I can put a little bit of my own personality into what I make, then I tend to remove all the stops and see what madness I can bring to the table! In terms of creating artwork, I try all the things! No, seriously, I sometimes stick with things I am familiar with, and sometimes try doing totally wacky things in order to learn more, and get different results. Experimentation is something that is critical in the artwork that I make, and I try not to focus on finishing a piece until I've explored a good number of possibilities.
> Do you think the quality of a piece depends more upon technical perfection, or the message contained therein?
There are pieces of art which are far from being 'technically' perfect that my mind can empathise with, and likewise, there are pieces which have wonderful technical prowess that floor me all the same. I honestly think it would be a combination of the two factors, and that they complement each other instead of oppose each other. I find that technical perfection isn't necessary, and that a visible message greatly contributes to a work of art. If one of those elements isn't present in a piece of art, the other element has to bear the brunt of both.
> Who are your favourite visual artists, and why?
This is an extremely difficult question for me to answer: there are so many artists that have influenced me over time that naming them all would take all day. While there are a wide variety of artists whose work I really enjoy seeing enjoy seeing, I will be presenting those who have had the most direct impact on my own artwork.
- I've always liked the texture and color usage in Van Gogh's artwork. Some of my artwork is specifically made to experiment with styles of color and texture that he presents in some of his pieces.
- I have always been awed by the structural and technical awesomeness of `MichaelFaber's work. In fact, I challenged myself to blindly reverse-engineer one of his fractals. Although I failed miserably at that, I learned a few key techniques and concepts that are critical to the artwork that I create now.
- `FarDareisMai was a tremendous help in encouraging me to pursue abstract fractals in the first place, because I had no clue if it was worth pursuing at the time (and now, it obviously seems like it was!) Within the artwork she makes, I tend to really enjoy the palettes and framing she employs, and the complexity and craziness of some of her work is absolutely fantastic.
- ~piethein21 has made some absolutely awesome, technically beautiful pieces of art, and is very good at imposing order and structure into chaotic fractals. His style is a bit different than mine, but he has shown me some very interesting techniques that I sometimes employ in my own art. We have done a few collaborative pieces together, which were very informative experiences: I find it incredibly awesome to be able to learn how other people go about making art during the creative process.
> Which dA Groups would you recommend to someone looking to get involved with abstract and surreal art?
I tend to find groups as more 'archives' rather than active 'forums' where you can interact with others, with the occasional journal article to bring some life into it. Personally, I strongly promote chat, and talking with artists via note or other forms of media, over groups in terms of benefit for abstract artwork.
> What advice would you give to an absolute beginner in the genre?
Mess around with a whole lot of stuff. Change settings, press lots of buttons, and don't be afraid to ask for help if you're unsure about how to do things! Don't limit yourself to doing things in a certain way unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary. Experimentation is a great way to get a feel for things, even if you have no clue what you're doing. You'll never get better unless you try!
> Any final words on abstract and surreal art?
I find it incredibly freeing to consider and explore possibilities. Possibilities do not have to be innately or universally understandable to be beautiful.
> In conclusion, pick nine works from your Favourites that you particularly enjoy.