When concert photography captures a show’s energy, those moments live on forever. Seeing these photos will conjure up the overall experience, but often lack the texture and depth felt in that exact moment. Jay Miller is an artist that has an ability to tap into that moment by blending photography with fractals in order to create an extremely original type of digital art called Fractography.
Miller’s art attempts to connect his subject with the universal emotion and energy of the moment. He does this by applying specific formulas in order to add symmetrical patterns and 3D effects to a photo. It’s as if the images created are from another dimension of the universe and, for this reason, I can’t help but connect with his work. The scenes he builds are often engraved in my mind’s eye like they were always meant to be seen that way. If someday I were to become blind, this is how I will choose to view live music.
Needless to say, Fractography has somehow tapped into a type of mystical art that almost seems universal when you look at these images. I have been watching Jay Miller’s work develop over the past year and finally got a chance to ask him about fractography, inspiration, and how we can get our hands on one of his prints!
CIT Carmel: What is Fractography?
Jay Miller: It’s a mixture of the words fractal and photography. It’s a pretty direct definition of my artwork. The deeper meaning behind Fractography is the connection I see and feel around me. I believe we’re all connected, but we very often forget or buy in to the idea of being individuals. The goal of Fractography then is to remind us of the connections we all share.
How did you get involved with this type of art?
As long as I can remember I’ve been interested in fractals and digital art. Digital composition and photo manipulation was something that 7 years ago I really enjoyed doing in my free time. I got to a point where my conscious kicked in and I found myself feeling bad about using other peoples images to create my artwork, though at the time I wasn’t selling my artwork. The only logical way for me to get to a place where I felt comfortable to sell my artwork was investing in a camera to create my own photos to composite and manipulate.
Getting my first “real” camera in 2009, I started to learn how to use it by shooting what was around me, which just happened to be artists (mainly musicians). I shot in local bars and clubs, first for good friends like Chicago Farmer, Ed Anderson, Backyard Tire Fire and then for bigger and bigger acts as time went on. This blossomed into shooting at some small Midwestern festivals like Summer Camp and eventually culminated with shooting at some of the major music festivals around the country.
What I nearly forgot in all of this excitement of learning how to shoot photos was that I had originally wanted to use a camera to create images that I could composite and manipulate. It sounds cliché but the idea struck me about 6 months ago while I was in the shower. The image in my mind was so real that I jumped out and scribbled a note about combining photos with fractals. I later tried for hours to create the image I had in my mind (pretty unsuccessfully, I may add) but I wouldn’t give up in trying to figure out how to create this image I’d seen so visibly in my mind. That’s how Fractography was born.
This is always so difficult to answer, even when I ask myself this same question, as it always feels like I’m making a list that is destined to forget something or someone. I’m incredibly inspired first and foremost by my 85 year old grandmother who helped raise me and has provided continual support and encouragement. She has taught me how to be a strong, honest, and all around good person and I owe nearly everything I’ve accomplished in some way to her and the qualities she’s instilled in me. Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way I’m incredibly inspired by life in general. I, for whatever reason, can find something inspiring in just about any situation or place I find myself in. In fact, I just got goosebumps and feel inspired simply by having this conversation.
So, my final answer? Everything. Hah!
How does live music inspire you?
Live music specifically inspires me through the connections it has. I could list connections that I see almost indefinitely, but a short list would include how a musician connects with his instrument, his thoughts, his bandmates, the crowd, and how all of those connections weave themselves together into larger connections. It always reminds me of the saying “As below, so above”, which brings me back to my love for fractals. Music lets me see the fractalized connections of the world around me. It’s humbling, satisfying, and often revealing.
How would you like to share your art with the world?
This has plagued me for a long time. In a world that wants to hold on to power I’m constantly being influenced to be the same, to protect my work, to hide in fear from all of the thieves that will rob me. Honestly though, this protective oversight of my art has caused more harm than good. Art to me isn’t about the monetary investment, it’s about the connection it captures and then projects. The current way that I’ve chosen to share my work with the world is through the Creative Commons Licensing.
I’m re-releasing my catalog of images, and all future images uploaded to my website will be free for sharing with just a few rules on how sharing is done. This is a new step for me and I’m very excited to see how it progresses. So far I’ve gotten nothing but amazing feedback, and I have a lot more hours in the day to create new art. It’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders and I hope this change will encourage the connection between my artwork and my audience, and inspire others to create and share.
I will also be displaying some of my Fractography at Inner Circle Gallery in Downtown Bloomington, IL on December 6th. There will likely be between 15-25 pieces on display ranging from 8×11 to 44″ in size. Some of these images have never been seen or published before and others will be fan favorites that I’ve received tons of great feedback on. They will be on display throughout the month and can be viewed by appointment if you are unable to make it on December 6th.
Also, Old Shoe will be playing in Bloomington after the gallery show on December 6th. So Summer Campers want to catch some live music after checking out the art show.
*All the artwork for this post was created by Jay Miller and much more can be found at his website, ReverbSoul, where he shares inspiration and development of his artwork as it progresses.