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Dr. Fathauer's fractal tree art is displayed in a new 52-page book. Click here for more information.

A fractal is an object exhibiting self similarity on different scales that can be related mathematically. Fractals have the characteristic feature that one can "zoom in" repeatedly and always see additional detail similar to what one saw before zooming in. Iteration, the process at the heart of fractals, is the repetition of a series of steps over and over to achieve an ever more detailed or more accurate result.

While most fractal art is generated using computer algorithms, Fathauer's fractal constructs are generated by graphical iteration. This allows him to create distinct and more directed structures. Most of his fractal tree prints are black-and-white designs created from photographic building blocks. This technique allows a large and intricately detailed tree to be presented in an isolated fashion, which is nearly impossible with a photograph of a real tree. The resolution of most of the prints is quite high, resulting in rich and sharp detail even at a size of 28" x 34". For most of the designs, a sufficiently large number of iterations were performed so that the image is indistinguishable from the image that would result after an infinite number of iterations. These designs thus possess a kind of hyper-realism, depicting trees that are more fractal than those found in nature. In addition, some of the designs are fantastical, unlike anything seen in nature, with features like infinite spirals.

Dr. Fathauer's fractal trees were used as the basis for a series of five murals in the Karl J. Jacobs Center for Science and Math at Rock Valley College in Rockville, Illinois. Click here for some photographs of the murals.

Click on the thumbnail images to see larger versions with descriptions.