Tom Bates

Artist
Santa Barbara, California USA
I have always been drawn in two directions: the arts and the sciences. Though my work life has been in science and software, I have strong interests in the visual arts, bronze casting, printmaking, and writing.

I write my own software for creating algorithmic images. I am interested in creating images that have a mathematical and geometrical basis of some kind, yet also aim to be accessible, and possibly even beautiful, to a wider audience that may not always appreciate the beauty of pure math.

I also enjoy coming across mathematical topics I feel have not been explained in a very accessible way, trying to develop a more approachable explanation, and then expressing the joy of my widened understanding through art.
Chaos Game Cut 6
50 x 70 cm
Digital Print, Custom Software
2017
This piece derives from work I did, out of both intellectual and artistic curiosity, to generalize the so-called chaos game, which yields a Sierpinski gasket, to any regular polygon. It is a montage of fractal and near-fractal images that are the natural product of such a generalization, especially when that is cast into code.

The stained-glass-like background, an "off-resonance" hexagonal analog to the stochastically produced Sierpinski gasket, is behind an "inverse" pentagonal analog, and a flare from the paths taken between chosen points of an inverse and off-resonance heptagonal analog. This piece is related to a paper on this topic that I will present in the MAA session on Arts and Mathematics on Saturday, January 13.
Six Easy Pieces
30 x 28 x 25 cm
Bronze
2010
This piece is inspired by one of the Chen-Gackstatter minimal surfaces. I was attracted to the organic feeling of the curves and smooth piercings of such surfaces.

I wanted to mix the beauty and perfection of such a pure mathematical object with the often complementary beauty of the imperfections that are part and parcel of physical being and life. I chose to leave the finish raw and unpolished to suggest an object found in nature, or even a creature of some alien world, with marked and marred skin that suggests a life story.