Inspiring an Artist: Mathematica's Role in Creating Art

Kenzo Nakamura, Artist

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The Mathematica Edge
  • Creates original algorithmic art, including shapes, patterns and backdrops
  • Generates polyhedra-based geometric surfaces and other forms
  • Simulates deformation, bending, fracture and more
"A very simple 10-line program displays a very wide array of color changes. This can really only be created using Mathematica, and I can introduce infinite changes."


Kenzo Nakamura has been using Mathematica to create Escher-inspired mathematical art.
A trademark piece, Three-Circle Mandala, depicts one large circle covered by three smaller, repeating circles, resulting in a Sierpinski gasket. The final work is representative of a Buddhist mandala.

Nakamura hasn't always used Mathematica to create art, however. He first started using it while writing his master's thesis. Dissatisfied with other software, he looked for a program he could use on his personal computer and fortuitously learned about Mathematica at a seminar. He's been using it ever since.

In addition to pursuing his interests in the technical aspects of Mathematica and writing a book on operations research, Nakamura began using the program to create intriguing works of art. Several of his Mathematica-derived pieces are visual illusions. Although static drawings, their infinite properties create the illusion of movement. Nakamura, who plans to continue pursuing this line of work, says, "Through these drawings, my dream is to create even one drawing that surpasses Escher's drawings."

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