Here is an informal visual account (the first of many?) of an ongoing long term project.
I’m pretty proud of this frog – I use it from time to time as a logo. The thing that appeals most is that it rewards the viewer for a closer look. Can you notice anything else about it?
Here’s how this thing came about…
In 2007, I started a project. A “globemaker” program that takes spherical imagery (think of a globe, or a spherical all-around panorama) and mathematically unwraps it, sort of like a digital version of peeling an orange. At Bridges 2009, I wrote and presented how I did it and explored many of these peelings. This particular peeling was a favourite of mine: a three-armed squiggle.
Instead of debuting this design by posting a digital image to Flickr, I put it aside it in order to properly ‘elevate’ it – to do something more substantial and less transient with it.
Fast forward to 2013 or so and my son and I were getting into woodcut printing. The very kind of graphic artwork that M. C. Escher was a master in. And we were looking for interesting forms to carve and I so brought out the three-armed squiggle. A print-making coworker of mine, Matt Reynolds said it looked like a frog. What else to do then but have a look at some pictures of tree frogs, and then sketch some frog details over top
My son Evan (7) and I were new to woodcuts and printmaking. We got a couple of hardwood end pieces from a stairway project I had done earlier. Evan designed and carved a pattern of waves onto the blue block, and I did the continents onto the black one.
We did a run of 20 prints. Anyone who has embarked on printmaking won’t be surprised that not all of them turned out – embracing imperfection was a big part of this project. Still, enough prints were good enough to submit to the Bridges 2015 Mathematical Art gallery exhibit in Baltimore.
A delightful epilogue to this Frog project was that I was able to connect with another cartographic print-maker. Amanda Johnson’s website Visual Amplitude is worth checking out. I especially like her Magma-Carta (of course).