Fractal tattoos anyone?
November 29, 2006 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find or create a fractal to use as the basis of a tattoo.

This is going to be my first tattoo, and I've been thinking about it for a long time. I want a tattoo that at it's basis is a good looking piece of art. If someone wants to talk to me about what it means, I would be more than happy to talk to them about it. But it doesn't have any overt meaning when you just look at it. I'm planning on getting it on the inside of my right arm, just below the crook of my inside-elbow (whatever that is called). Later I will probably extend this first tattoo up my arm using a second design I'm working on that is based on the whorls and spirals generated in the pictures scientists take when they smash atoms together

The concepts I'm trying to express in this tattoo is one of the merging of opposites. I want the fractal to be a ring. A ring is a line with no end, representing infinity. Inside the ring is nothingness, the opposite of infinity. And both are concepts that have been created by humans, and the question of what they mean to the physical world is kind of up in the air.

I want to use a fractal because a fractal is representative of chaos giving rise to order, and I like the idea that the only reason a fractal is beautiful is because I as a human see the beauty in it.

So I need a fractal ring, or at least something radial symmetrical. I've already taken a stab at it myself. Here's a flickr set of what I've done:

I've used a little photoshop to isolate an edge in this fractal- I don't feel as if that's cheating that badly :P

I don't like what I've made so far because it doesn't look "computer generated" enough for me, and it's almost too busy. I'm afraid it might be too detailed for a good tat, but maybe I'm wrong about that. I also don't like the way it's balanced- it's kind of spiraling or leaning to one side, and I think I would rather have something without that feeling.

OK, any mathetician tattoo artists out there have any input into this problem? Suggestions of specific fractal sets to check out would be great. Links to images are great as well. And any input into the ups and downs of tattoos of this type (avoid too much detail, use color/don't use color, etc) would be helpful.

I would also love to hear about any tattoo artists in the Seattle area who would be recomended to do this type of tattoo. Maybe someone who would be really fired up to work on a piece like this?

posted by keep_evolving to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, challenging. I've (hand) drawn a few tattoos for friends, but nothing like that. Sounds interesting.

In case you missed it Googling, there a few things here:

No rings, but does seem to show the details of those edges can work.
posted by rokusan at 10:29 PM on November 29, 2006

Two thoughts came to mind. First, you might want to try working on a spirograph. Second, and this is just a random thought, but it sound a bit like you're wanted to make a fractal Ouroboros.
posted by Cog at 11:00 PM on November 29, 2006

You going to have trouble making something thats detailed enough to recognise what it is - a mathematical fractal. It might just look like a ring.

This one-
looks pretty good because its shape seems to be the most famous recognisable fractal. I also think the black in the middle, glowing rim looks pretty good. They've managed to simplify the design so it works as a tattoo.
Just do a search for mandelbrot to find that one.
posted by phyle at 11:32 PM on November 29, 2006

this one is nice and I reckon could translate well-

A google image search for- 'Sierpinski julia' gets some more radial/symetrical ones.
posted by phyle at 11:43 PM on November 29, 2006

I second what phyle said about the detail - the resolution of needles on human skin doesn't really allow for "fractal"-type complexity, except of the grossest sort.

Now, if you could find an inker with fractal needles, you'd be in business! Of course, you'd need an infinite supply of ink...
posted by Aquaman at 12:21 AM on November 30, 2006

You can explore Fracster to find a good image. Requires Java.
posted by ardgedee at 4:26 AM on November 30, 2006

This guy's in New York, but if anyone could do the tattoo you want, he could.
posted by MsMolly at 7:59 AM on November 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the help so far, everybody.

rokusan, unfortunately your link didn't work. It says they are moving the server or something. I really wanted to see it, too.

I'm a little discouraged by what phyle said about not being able to get the detail necessary. I suppose I really need to talk to an artist about the idea and see what they can suggest. So, anyone got any good artists in Seattle?

Thanks again!
posted by keep_evolving at 11:22 AM on November 30, 2006

Lucky Devil Tattoo Parlor on Capitol Hill has some extremely talented & knowledgeable artists who could surely help you out.
posted by Aquaman at 3:23 PM on November 30, 2006

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