Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Somerville Artist Lois Blood Bennett Presides Over A Marriage of Computers and Art

Somerville Artist Lois Blood Bennett Presides Over A Marriage of Computers And Art

by Doug Holder

Digital artist Lois Blood Bennett met with me on a cool spring morning at my usual seat by the fireplace in the back of the Bloc 11 Cafe. We were to talk about her brand of art that involves-- her--(the human artist) and a computer, collaborating to make a piece of art.

Bennett is somewhere in middle-age, with long gray-speckled hair, that belies her almost girlish enthusiasm for the genre of art that she practices. She and her husband live in the Brickbottom, an enclave for artists and other creatives, that is located in the outskirts of Union Square. She told me that she and her husband love the community of people that live there. She commented, “ The vibe that this place creates is wonderful. It is also well-managed, and the Brickbottom frequently hosts great events.”

As for our own “ Paris of New England,” Bennett is equally enthused. She said, “I love the Somerville Arts Council. They help make Somerville an exciting place to work as an artist. They have a great list serve that I often use to hook up with something of interest—like a bookbinding course, or—well--this very interview we are having now.”

As Somerville undergoes a big transition and gentrification creeps into our city—Bennett does have her concerns. She told me, “In the case of the Brickbottom --a new subway station will be built close to it. This will cause a lot of traffic and noise. There also seems to be a plan to change the area from light industry to more housing. I think artists and light industry are better co-inhabitants. Housing , I think, will bring on a totally different vibe.” Bennett went on to say that the Brickbottom community is politically active—and will be strong advocates for their neck of the woods.

Now—getting to her art-- Bennett herself told me that it is not easily explained. But—here is the Monarch Notes version. Bennett works in something called “Fractal Flame Design.” Fractal Flames are mathematical constructs that are capable of creating great complexity from rather simple equations.

Bennett uses software and her own artistic sensibility to create patterns from this that are often but not always, evocative of nature. The images I have looked at ( and it is subjective, of course) suggest clusters of cells, swirling feathers in a surreal mix, ancient, bony fish, a shrouded, spectral woman etc... Bennett told me, “I use my color sense, random chance, and my knowledge of theory to create fascinating patterns.”

Bennett also told me she was involved in a piano project, titled: “ Play Me I'm Yours.” It was hosted by the Boston Celebrity Series. Pianos were donated that could be played or could be made playable. One of Bennett's designs was transferred to the surface of a pure white piano—for a stunning presentation. Her piece was displayed at the Prudential Towers in Boston--the other pianos were spread around Boston sites

Bennett also told me that her patterns have been transferred to fabric—scarves, dresses, etc...She added that one of her images is now displayed at the Millbrook Lofts in the Twin City Plaza.

Bennett left our table to rush to her job as a Computer Systems Analyst . Bennett is just one of the faces in the crowd that make our city unique.

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