90s Fractal Art

Created by Tim Waters
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In the 90s Timothy Waters created fractal Art from his studio in the UK. This website is a record of this artwork.

This early form of computer graphics was shown in exhibition spaces in the UK including Derby industrial museum and Warwick central art gallery.

Postcards and posters of these fractals were also sold in the UK in high street stores such as HMV and Athena as well as student markets.

This website contains many of these computer generated images of fractals created by Timothy Waters that became popular at the time.

Also see: Inspiration fractal quotes | Fractal Art Tool | Fractal Flowers | PwC wall art commission

Early 90s Fractal Artwork 1992 - 1993

The Art of Chaos, Fractal Art Exhibition by Timothy Waters - 1994

The art of chaos exhibition, Milton Keynes, Stantonbury campus gallery by Tim Waters 1994

Galleries and museums became interested in the ideas of the Chaos theory and Fractals and a selection of the fractal artwork you see here was exhibited in the UK.

Venues included Derby industrial museum, Warwick central art gallery, and Milton Keynes long lounge.

These fractals images were printed onto A1 photographic paper and presented side by side in several A0 sized frames along side some accompanying text.

Computer Generated Fractal Images from 1993

Influences of early 90s fractal art

Fractal creations - by Tim Wagner, Published by the Waite Group (1991) - This book could be purchased off the shelf in bookstores. It contained a disk with the program Fractint that let you generate fractals on your home computer.

The Beauty of Fractals - by Heinz-Otto Peitgen and Peter Richter (1986). This book contains 88 full-colour prints from the exhibition "Frontiers of Chaos" as well as a personal contribution by Benoit Mandelbrot himself.

Natures Chaos - by Eliot Porter and James Gleick published by the Little (1991), Brown Book Group. Chaos also by James Glick was the seminal book on Chaos theory at the time.

Ray Traced Fractal Art from 1994

How this Fractal Art Became Popular in the Early 90s

At this time the interest in fractals and the new scientific thinking of the Chaos theory was spreading across the UK in popular culture.

People were excited by the new futuristic aesthetic of computer generated imagery and fractals sparked people's imagination.

Music stores such as HMV and student markets featured these images as poster and postcards amongst their music poster and young people used them to decorate their rooms.

High street poster stores such as Athena soon started to stock these images alongside the other popular images of the time.

As these images gained popularity it became common to see them stocked alongside holiday postcards in post offices and in stationery and card shops.

The psychedelic look of the imagery also made them popular in head stores and market stalls.

Fractals, the 90s acid house scene and rave flyers

90's rave flyers
Flyers to wear house parties decorated many rooms of this rave generation in the early 90s

Electronic dance music was becoming mainstream in the early 90s and computer generated imagery often provided the visuals for this rave generation.

The bright colours and kaleidoscopic shapes which feature strongly in these fractal graphics brought psychedelic imagery up to date for this drug fueled culture and they became an icon of the time representing hedonism and a freedom to party.

Colourful computer graphics often featured on the flyers to wear house parties and Posters and postcards of these fractals decorated the homes of this people in this scene.

Ray traced Fractal Landscapes - 1994

How Early 90s Fractal Images Were Made

The early 90s Fractal images you see here were created on a home computer which was very low powered by today standards.

Great patience was needed as they generated onto the screen a pixel at a time which in some cases would take hours.

Despite the low resolution screens the unfolding infinite complexity and futuristic style of this computer generated fractal imagery quickly captured the imagination.

There was always something more beautify to see on the next dive into these infinitely fascinating structures and the temptation to give it one more go never seemed to wear off.

With much the same sense of exploring a new land and bringing back photos of what was discovered the collection of images featured on this page represent mementos of these journeys.

Manchester Metropolitan University - Fine Art BA (Hons) 1998

Images created whilst studying Fine Art at the Metropolitan University in Manchester.

Another great time to be in Manchester filled with dance music, culture and a wave of optimism.

Fractal FAQ

Question: What is a fractal?

Answer: A Fractal is a pattern that repeats itself across different scales. Fractal shapes have infinite self-similarity, which means they are made of smaller shapes that look like copies of themselves.

Question: Do Fractals exist in nature?

Answer: Fractals shapes exist in nature and come in the form of branching and spiral patterns. The forking of branches of a tree or the branches of a rivers are types of fractals. Shells that spiral are also fractal and often follow the Fibonacci sequence.

Question: What is the Mandelbrot fractal?

Answer: The Mandelbrot set is a fractal made using mathematics. It is named after the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot.

Question: What is fractal art?

Answer: Fractal art contains patterns that repeat themselves at different scales. It can be drawn by hand, created using computers or can be photographs of fractals found in nature.

Question: Are fractal an optical illusion?

Answer: Fractals are complex patterns that give the person looking at them the impression of infinity.