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On My Art and Recursia®

During adolescence, I became fascinated with geometry. This fascination was quickly fostered by my Grandfather and master woodworker, Harold Thomas. When I was fourteen years old my grandfather gave me my Great-Grandfather's (who was also a master woodworker) antique architectural drafting tool kit. With this high-precision set of squares, scribes, straight edges, and compasses, I explored the first-principles of geometry, classic design motifs, and the effect of color has on how we delineate boundaries of patterns. 

For my first years of college, my pattern making was put on the back burner as I focused on my studies in cognitive neuroscience and philosophy. But this changed when during my junior year of college I was accepted to complete an internship with NYU professor and author,  Pascal Wallisch, PhD. In the spring of 2014,  Dr. Wallisch instructed me to, "learn as much programming as possible before the summer [internship] begins". To do this I decided to program the logic of the geometry I already understood to see if I could draw figures on the screen. I began by displaying single dots to the monitor, then lines, then polygons, then spirals, and eventually fully dynamic patterns. 

During my final year at Union College in Schenectady, NY, I realized I needed to fulfill my art requirement in order to graduate. I signed up for "introduction to digital art", not knowing what to expect.The course valuable for teaching me the fundamentals of photoshop, theory and technical understanding of image files, raster VS vector, resolution, screen vs print parameters, and professional production techniques. But at the time I still had not made a connection between these new digital art skills, recently acquired programming skills, and my long-standing knowledge of geometry.  Then at the end of the semester, while trying to get an ‘A' on the final project (and the course), I was experimenting in the digital art lab late at night and happened upon a very… strange design.

This course, "Introduction to Digital Art" changed my life in that it provided me with the opportunity to explore an area that would turn out to be a gift of mine. But, It would not be until after this course that my talent for digital art truly began to come into a form. Since then I have devoted much of my free time to originating and maturing a suite of techniques, methods, and processes for creating bold, transformative art forms that incorporate daring designs utilizing a vivid, virtual pallet.

I also use my knowledge of the human visual system to develop novel illusions, like those utitlized to create the the Recursia®, LLC logo,

and “Crocs and Socks", the subject of an innovative research project that hundreds of thousands of people have viewed online.

Although science and data analysis remains my primary focus and source of a sense of "ikigai", my interdisciplinary knowledge of sensation, perception, data science, improvisation, and meditation led me to craft a new way to design shapes, and patterns, utilizing abstract mathematics, virtually limitless colors, and multidimensional thinking.

One holiday season a few years back I had my designs turned into canvas prints, posters, cell phone cases, blankets, and pillows and gifted them to friends, family, and mentors. They kept asking me for more, always adding in new suggestions of things my designs would look special on.

In addition to the excitement of my family and friends, through many serendipitous encounters, I have shared my designs and ideas with highly-successful, veteran fashion industry leaders; boutique designers; mathematicians; and of course, neuroscientists. All are amazed and encouraging in their own way, with many inspired by the sheer size of the design portfolio.

Bearing this out, strangers of all stripes passing in the street or places like the concourse of Madison Square Garden were inspired to stop me and ask: "Where on earth did you get that shirt… how can I get one?" After explaining the designs are my creations, they often self-identify as willing customers: “Please give me your website.” Or: “Can I have a business card?" However, I had neither a website or a business card. For over four years I ignored these calls to action primarily because I was singularly focused on my research and eventually pursuing graduate education and a career in data science. Plus, I knew nothing about forming or running a business or getting my designs manufactured en masse into various products.

However, after several successive, anonymous, unscripted, one-off encounters with absolute strangers, I suddenly realized no one had ever cold-stopped me to compliment my other shirts … only while wearing Recursia designs. Combining this tacit, unforced public endorsement with five years of consistent positive feedback from family and friends, and more recently, trend-spotters, I became confident my artistic creations could easily fit into a variety of mediums that could be widely-valued by people looking for distinctive, creative merch for themselves or as gifts.

This unusual combination of chance encounters with strangers, praise from fashion leaders, encouragement from family and friends, led me to become inspired and confident enough to incorporate Recursia, LLC, in 2019, transforming my self-developed art skills into a small online business.

The Recursia, LLC creative collective comprises myself and three close friends who watched as I accidentally came to realize I was becoming an artist with a virtual brush. They individually and collectively collaborated with me on several creative projects during this transformative process, subsequently joining together as a creative company to help me continue progressing this unique initiative into a successful reality. We also have a support team helping run the business.

Over time Recursia, LLC’s creative team developed a suite of novel methods for producing original, visually-striking, colorful patterns based on mathematical principles.

"The power of recursion evidently lies in the possibility of defining an infinite set of objects by a finite statement."

--Niklaus Wirth, Computer Scientist,1976

This is reflected in one major, distinctive aspect of our work - the inherently predictable manner in which patterns emerge from within each design, depending on viewing distance and focal area, similar to a fractal. Careful scrutiny of a majority of artwork finds hidden, multi-scaled patterns of a “base-image,” which is countlessly replicated, to the viewer’s surprise and wonderment.

Hence, Recursia, LLC. Our improvisational-theory laden mathematically-based "neuro-inspired" design methods arose from my academic training and post-baccalaureate research, combining the cognitive neurophysiology of vision, perceptual psychophysics, abstract math, computer science, and digital art with an intuitive, deep curiosity manifesting in my desire to explore and discover unique, creative processes.

The resulting designs feature displays of patterns and colors straddling the boundary of what has heretofore been conceptualized as possible. Descriptive terms such as “Mandala;” “Arabesque;” “Seljuk;” and  “Geometric" have been used to categorize the creations offered in our marketplace. However, I feel the artforms I create are generally in a class of their own.

From my perspective, this process ultimately exists at the intersection of the various forces and factors that have influenced my life and perspective: neuroscience; perception, optical illusions; logic;  abstract mathematics; computer science; scientific-philosophy, time in nature; improvisational music; meditation; and woodworking. 

As previously mentioned, science and data analysis remain my primary focus and source of a sense of "ikigai", thus, I have structured the business to function as autonomously as possible to afford for me the time and energy needed to focus on successfully working a full-time career separate from Recursia.

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