Portrait by: Gene Sasse 2013
untitled | 2013

Stories from the Art: Ron Blanchard


Fractals: a complex geometric pattern exhibiting self-similarity in that the small details of its structure, viewed at any scale, repeats elements of the overall pattern. Mathematics is the agent of change to morph, twist, and spiral patterns into endless new creations, with the change of a simple 0.001 decimal point. 


Ron Blanchard is surrounded by beauty. His home is filled with lovely shells and paintings, vases and bowls in ornate colors and shapes; well organized and artistically planned color schemes flow from room to room. When you walk into his house, you know you are in the home of an artist.

Ron’s office is no different, though it is also filled with impressive computer equipment - the tools of his current artistic endeavours - and as he sits behind his desk he orchestrates the creation of digital art, in the form of fractals.

With a background in graphic design, photography and teaching, Ron has discovered a mode of creation that taps into universal wonderment and of all things, it is based on mathematics. A simple line can be turned and twisted into an exquisite complexity, the intricate beauty of a mathematical equation; the elegance of patterns. 

Ron chases mystery with childlike wonder, “there is a mystery behind things that are unusual, and haven’t been seen before.” With the heart of an explorer, he inputs a pre-set formula into a program, and produces a shape. By changing the parameters in the formula, even by a minute fraction, he can cause a different image to form. Zooming into these shapes, into the dark regions, he calls to the forefront patterns that exist, but that have never been seen before.

Over and over he continues to magnify these dark areas. With the hand of an artist he selects, with the eye of a photographer he dives into the unknown, looking for images, shapes, or structures. Ron uses a powerful computer, along with his curiosity to discover what is around the next corner; he pursues an infinite number of possibilities. “I feel like a new person every time a new image is created” he says.

The colors and shapes of many fractals remind Ron of his “psychedelic hippie” days. He pulls out a pair of white jeans that he drew on in the late 60’s - shapes with swirls and curves, lines that wrap around and over themselves, vibrant colors - the similarity, obvious. “At every turn with fractals there is a mystery, every turn is a chance to discover something new that I have never seen, that has some kind of palatable structure – it can be organic or in-organic – the amazement is behind that, the discovery. And all this is done with the manipulation of mathematics. Beautiful.”

At heart, Ron’s desire is to teach classes in finding the loveliness - even the chaos - in the images to individuals that are interested in fractals; to teach them how to turn them into pieces of art, not just random designs, but compositions with structure and complexity. “When you teach a person the interface, and they ‘get it’, and they know they can create these amazing images, then you know you have given them something that will change their life. Art does that, it changes people.”

untitled | 2013
untitled | 2013
Curator: Gene Sasse
Writer: Laurie Morrison
© 2013 Inland Empire Museum of Art
All Art © by The Artist