I’m Steven Lareau, a self-taught digital artist, working with Flame Fractals, a form of Math Art. I’m an artist who struggles with bipolar disorder, one side of it the hellish madness of overwhelming depression and mania, and the other side of it having an overly creative mind. I’m one of those proverbial moody, difficult, highly creative types. I’m constantly driven to explore, to find out just how far I can push an idea.
When it comes to creating, I never sit down with an idea in mind and then set out to create what I envision. Instead, I start with something quite random and fine tune it into something beautiful. It’s more of a process of exploration than creation.
With math art, you need a starting point, so I begin each piece with a series of random numbers which assign parameters like shape, sharpness or fuzziness, color distribution, and repetition of pattern. Once I get a starting point, hours are spent changing the shapes, as well as the colors and the way they’re spread out through the fractal’s form. I spend long hours changing things around until it looks good to my eye.
As I explore the different forms in fractals, I’m constantly fascinated by the familiar patterns I’ve seen in nature. Flower shapes, spiral galaxies, branching trees, forked lightning—these are all nature’s patterns, and fractals are a mathematical description of these very forms. Computer software allows me to reinterpret these patterns, allowing me to present this information in a different, visually pleasing way.
The most difficult part of this process is deciding when a piece is finished. The nature of the artwork I create can never actually be finished: it can be taken from one point and go off into infinite directions, each minor tweak I make changes the overall look. The challenge is to work up to a certain point that I like, save it, and move on. Most of the time I branch out into many different directions, saving each step along the way. The images I present here are fragments of an incredible journey I’ve taken, a snippet of time from the visions I discover.
There are thousands of images online in my galleries—each piece is a small segment of my explorations. I enjoy showing people something they’ve never seen before, and something they will never see again. I am like a mad scientist toiling away late into the night, exploring as many directions as I can, and I bear witness to some very beautiful things. I find it sad that the world can’t pull up a chair behind me and watch me work, to see the wondrous things I discover. By making prints of my artwork, I’m making it possible for you to take a fragment of my explorations home with you to enjoy forever. To me, that’s an incredibly cool thing to be able to do, to share a slice of what I am driven to do every day with the world. The organic visions I discover every day are too wonderful not to share. I hope you enjoy viewing these as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.