Nicholas Phillips

Visiting Assistant Research Scientist
Dept of Astronomy, University of Maryland-College Park
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
After completing a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and a career with NASA contributing to their cosmology studies, I've now turned my attention to my artistic side. This part of me is still heavily influenced by my mathematics background; that is a large part of how I see the world. It's not enough to just develop an algorithm to express a viewpoint though a mathematical idea. I contrast that abstraction by having the process of realizing a piece focus on careful hand tool work. This is how the finished product becomes something that can connect with other people. It become infused with my humanity via the act of working, painting and finishing the wood by hand.

A mathematical view, realized via individual effort.
7am to Noon
17 x 38 cm
Wood, Tinted Shellac, Lacquer
2015
I wake up in the morning, with a perfect view of the day. But by lunchtime the chaos of the world has set in.

I've used a point cloud and the Voronoi tiling derived from it to express this view of the day. This piece started as custom computer code to generate the tiling which is then transferred to Curly Maple. I hand carve the pattern.
My color nearest neighbor avoidance algorithm generates the coloring pattern. This guides how I use my own technique for painting with custom tinted shellac. A topcoat of lacquer is polished to allow light to optically couple to the tinted shellac and the Curly Maple's figure.

A personal view, expressed via mathematics and designed on computer, executed entirely by hand.