San Le

Albuquerque, New Mexico

One of the advantages science has over art is the way new work builds upon the work that came before. By contrast, in the art world there usually is an innovator who advances the arts with a unique vision, but then his work is viewed as the pinnacle and creations by later adopters of the movement are often treated as simply imitations.

In 1997, when I began combining my work with the tessellation art that was popularized by M. C. Escher, I saw an opportunity to build upon what came before. In the art of space filling, I could use the geometry of Escher's time as well as the mathematics that have been developed since. And by basing my tiles on subjects and configurations which had not been used before, I could create new patterns and images distinct from that of others.

World Wide Web
30 in X 22 in
watercolors, digital

When artists create Escheresque images, they usually have one dominant figure in a tile that is completely filled. There are greater possibilities beyond this, such as having multiple figures of people in the tile which allows for the visualization of other interesting patterns once the tiles are assembled, especially regions of density and void. Also, when trying to completely fill the tile, the figures usually interlock rather than overlap, unlike my images where the people's limbs intertwine. This is enhanced by having negative space which contrasts the bodies to the background.

With the use of overlapping figures, I also created connections of the people beyond their connection across tile boundaries, i.e. connections within connections.

Penrose II
25 in X 22 in
watercolors, digital

M.C. Escher passed away before he had a chance to apply Penrose tilings to his work with tessellations. Using the principles I developed in my own experiments, I came up with this piece.

26 in X 22 in
watercolors, digital

The tiles comprising this piece were my first attempts at having both periodicity and randomness. There are 3 interchangeable tiles which can be assembled so that they may form a random pattern even as they follow the traditional periodic rhombus tiling.