Mathematical Artist Returns To South Dakota

Sep 17, 2013

An award winning artist from Indiana is in Sioux Falls showing students how technology and mathematics can create art. This artist is a South Dakota native from the Freeman area.

Jason Gross is presenting his artistic passion through fractal formulas in mathematics to students at the New Tech High School in Sioux Falls. A mathematical fractal formula is plugged into a computer program using a basic shape like a circle or square. The formula then mutates the shape in a way to give it multiple shapes. The finished product looks similar to the shapes in a kaleidoscope. Colors can then be added to create unique and interesting pieces of art. Gross says he likes to travel around and teach younger generations of the existence of fractal art.

Students Creating Fractal Art
Credit Nate Wek / SDPB

"The main idea of me being here today is to convey to the students that mathematics isn't just about numbers, equations, you know boring dead stuff. There are forms of art that are based on mathematics; that actually mathematics is behind a lot of things in the world around us even if it doesn't look that way to begin with," Gross says.

Gross says he wants to show students how the advancement of technology can make mathematics fun and artistic. He says working with children is a joy for him.

"Enjoy watching them start creating their own fractals and watching them be blown away that, oh wow I did this and I got this way cool form, and that kind of reminds me of how I felt when I started with them 20 years ago," Gross says.

Mitchell Bump is a high school student at New Tech in Sioux Falls. He says he really enjoys working with fractal formulas after seeing Gross's presentation.

"I thought it was good and it really helped the class out with fractals and I think it really helped us towards our end product for the presentation," Bump says.

Bump says he plans to use the computer program on his own time to experience more regarding fractal art.

For more information regarding Kevin Gross and his art, visit his website here.