Martin W. Ball is interested in many forms of creative and personal expression, with fractal art being one of his more recent artistic pursuits. As a visual artist, Martin began drawing as a child, mostly with themes of outer space adventures, science fiction, and also a deep fascination with the natural world, often drawing animals and birds. As a teenager, his artistic creations reflected his interest in Japanese animation styles, largely influenced by the kinds of cartoons he enjoyed watching.
As a young adult, Martin began working with colored pencils, producing highly detailed and realistic images of birds of prey. Influenced by his academic work in the study of shamanism, mysticism, Buddhism, and Native American cultures, he gained inspiration from traditional spiritual iconography and used his artistic creations to explore his own budding spirituality. Using vibrant colors, Martin sought to express a deep love of nature, connectedness, and a sense of the transcendent in his art.
Currently, Martin’s work can be considered as digital “visionary art.” Much visionary art is inspired by the spiritual and transcendental experiences that are made accessible to perception through the intentional use of entheogens, meditation, and altered states of consciousness. Common themes in visionary art include complex geometry, fractals, and use of radial and bilateral symmetry to create multi-layered and interconnected imagery, often with depictions of subtle energies.
Martin has used his visual art mainly to support his other creative and expressive pursuits as both an author and musician, creating imagery for book covers, CDs, and music videos. Recently, his visual art output has exploded, mainly due to his exploration of digital art and fractal generating programs. In developing his own style of visionary art, he has increasingly used his nature photography as elements in his artwork, bridging the digital and analog divide.
Much of his art has cosmic elements reflecting not only his love of sci-fi, but also the universal nature of being and the nonduality of all existence as one unified whole, from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the vastness of space and the infinite variety of celestial objects and environments.
Martin uses JWildfire for the production of fractal flames. Layers from JWildfire are then blended together in Photoshop to create the compositions, along with images from Martin's photography. None of the images are direct from the fractal software to the screen and each image is multi-layered and carefully composed and blended. While much "fractal art" is a single image created in fractal software, for Martin, the "art" aspect is the layering and composition process. Careful observers might notice that some elements and layers are used in several different images. By working with layers and individual elements, remixing is always a fun possibility.
All of the photography featured in the art is by Martin. With his recent upgrade in camera body and super telephoto lens, this aspect of his art is getting even more impressive with candid and dramatic shots of birds and wildlife.
For more information about Martin’s books (fiction and non-fiction), art, music, and other pursuits, you can visit his webpage at www.martinball.net.