My Story: An Obsession With Geometry

Since this web site is born directly from my personal passion, I figured it would make sense for me to tell you all a little bit about who I am, and specifically, how I came to conceive of and create this web site.

An Early Passion For Geometry

Fuzzy Dodecahedron

Fuzzy Dodecahedron

I’ve been fascinated by geometry for about as long as I can remember.  My eye will gravitate to any pattern or interesting shape it sees — bathroom tiles, carpets, buildings, you name it! My parents are musicians, not architects or mathematicians, so I’m not sure where it comes from (although music and math are far more related than many people realize … maybe I’ll post about that some day!).

The only thing I can latch onto from my early years that may have had a geometric influence is, of all things, a stuffed ball. Yes, you heard me, like a stuffed animal, except it is a ball, and in this case, it’s a spherical version of a dodecahedron.  I still own it to this day, and here it is:

Did this funny object inspire my obsession, or did my obsession bring this object into my life? Hmmm….

I Thought I Was the Reincarnation of M. C. Escher

I forget exactly when I ran across my first Escher print, but I’m guessing it was in junior high. If you’re visiting this site, I imagine you’re as fascinated with him as I am. If anyone qualifies as a geometric artist, he does!  In some ways he defines the term, at least as I think of it.

Sketches

Sketches (mine on left; Escher on right)

Anyway, when I was around 12 or 13 I become absolutely convinced that I must be the reincarnation of Escher.  How else could I explain my utter fascination with his work, my ability to stare at it for hours on end?  When I saw pictures of his sketch books, they looked so much like my own doodling that I was sure that clinched it.

Unfortunately, that same book (M.C. Escher: His Life and Complete Graphic Work) also contained his first biography that I had read, and I learned that he passed away in 1972, a full seven years after I was born. So much for that theory. :-)

Sleepless Nights with Poster Board and Tape

Paper Models

Paper Models

In high school and college my attention turned away from tilings and tesselations and more towards 3D geometry — specifically, polyhedra. As my college friends will attest, my dorm room was always littered with models thrown together with poster board and tape — usually in the wee hours of the morning!

 

Dabbling in Other Media

In more recent years, tired of how rudimentary most of these cardboard models looked — not to mention their tendency to fall apart over the years — I started dabbling in other more permanent, more beautiful media. I’ve done some work in wood

Wood Models

Wood Models

and at one point I learned the craft of stained glass and produced a couple of models:

Stained Glass Models

Stained Glass Models

However, stained glass, at least, turned out to be far too time consuming and labor intensive for me, at least at the time. I still think glass would be a remarkable medium for making polyhedra, and perhaps some day I’ll return to it and/or find an artist out there who is pursuing this. Since these forms are so universal, they could theoretically be made out of almost any material, so I think the options are almost limitless.

Mid-Life Course Correction: Following My Dream

Fast forward to today. For the past decade or more geometric art has faded to the edges of my world, which has become focused on more “practical” matters. Recently, though, I realized that I felt dissatisfied and somehow side-tracked, like my life had gotten off course. After some intensive coaching and other personal work, I have realized that my current career (as an IT department manager) holds no more appeal for me. And so, as I’m writing this, I am in the midst of departing that job to set out on a new adventure — of which this web site is a part.  My goal is to make my living independently through a variety of web and programming projects, and to make enough income this way to support my true dream: a return to geometric art and becoming a full-time geometric artist myself.

So… What’s YOUR Story?

Well, that’s me in a nutshell, at least with respect to geometric art.  I’m also an a cappella singer, word puzzle enthusiast, lover of world travel, sometime meditator, and many other things — but this should be enough to let you know why I’m here and creating this web site.

Do you have an interesting story about yourself and geometric art that you’d like to share? If so, please let me know! I also encourage you to sign up for the Geometric Arts Newsletter, which I’ll be using to share extra information and resources beyond what’s on the site.

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About Phil Webster

Phil is the creator of GeometricArts.com. You can reach him on the Contact page.

3 Responses to My Story: An Obsession With Geometry

  1. avatar
    Deanna McAlister July 6, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Hi Phil,

    I love all types of art and you are very inspiring! I think it is fantastic that you are following your heart and are so very passionate about geometric art. It was so interesting to read your website. I can’t wait to read more! I wish you all the luck in the world!

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      Phil Webster July 7, 2011 at 6:49 am #

      Thanks, Deanna! Great to hear from you.

  2. avatar
    Nancy Webster October 22, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    My brain is sprained! There are so many things going on that my brain goes into a spiral…

    For example, I’m a mucisian, so my brain goes (almost subconsciously) when I hear music in the background, to the thoughts of a retrograde canon, a straight canon, a first inversion, a second version, etc., or even cab canon!!

    Makes me think “optical illusions” or of the double-speak our politicians use with us (do they think that we’re stupid?!)’ or I think about the “design” of a daisy, or of a tree’s leaf…

    As I’ve said before, my brain is sprained!!

    Nancy