Distinct String Art
Symbiosis of inspiration and mathematics in a work of art.
Meet the artists who in 2016 developed a method that combines handwork of creating images of thread and nails and mathematical analysis. Art, wonder, and precise calculation have been brought together to see the magic! Enjoy!
The team
Alexey
Artist, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences
Andrew
Artist, technical specialist, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences
— What is your first art memory?
— There are three of us in our art workshop, and I think that each one of us could tell something of their own, but I will answer for myself ... First of all, I admire this question. It allowed me to dive into memories and swim past my revelations in the art of recent years, university mathematical experience (which is also, of course, essentially artistic), past my school art reports and improvisations and immerse myself further in the depth of children's experience. The very first thing I managed to remember is a paper swan, which I made in kindergarten at the age of 5. It turned out wonderfully good, so much so that a neighbor girl on my desk would exchange it for a pink glass pebble. And I had a weakness for jewelry, my favorite book as a child was about the treasures of the Kremlin's Diamond Fund. I remember that I was delighted with this deal until the girl presented my swan to the tutor as her own craft. This was my first shocking experience from art (lol). It was then, probably, for the first time that I felt an inner connection with something that I had created.
— How and when did you start working with this non-standard technique?
— In 2016, the remarkable technological artist Petros Vrellis from Greece showed this technique in his work with a reproduction of one of the images of Christ by El Greco. Of course, he stood on the shoulders of his predecessors. Even earlier, a similar technique appeared in graphics, and beautiful patterns that are woven with a thread in a circle according to strict mathematical formulae are known since the 60-70s of the last century. The merit of Petros is that he ideally combined these techniques, bringing up something unseen before. His video went viral and gave impetus to many creatively and technically gifted people, including us. Since then imitators have been constantly appearing, and the programming code for the conversion of an image into a knit can even be found in the public domain. Funny thing, I even know a team of scientists from Vienna who defended their PhD thesis on the basis of this material. With our experience, we would have already defended several, unless we weren't PhDs already. To us, the code and algos are tools, a kind of brush and paints, which are necessary yet not sufficient for making art. But in addition to the many amateurs, several truly distinctive and interesting artists have grown out of that. All of them got their own tools that are damn good and their own vision and experience which makes the whole difference.
Initially, weaving pictures from threads was a beautiful geometric embodiment of universal mathematical laws. But we went further and learned how to create accurate images using one continuous thread.
— How did your professional math background helped your style to develop?
— For me, math is not something separate from art. Those are symbiotic partners that feed each other. Everyone knows about the golden ratio and perspective, but I'm not even talking about that. Mathematics is a constantly evolving apparatus and language for searching universal laws according to which our world is arranged. Art is a constantly evolving apparatus and language for expanding our perception of the world and the search for its revelations. Really close, isn't it? For me as a mathematician, art is a meditation and math is a way of verbalizing meditative experience, and for me as an artist, art is the beneficiary of the math language. The mathematical apparatus behind our works is nothing extremely complicated. But the main thing that the professional mathematical background gives is intuition, which allows us to see ideas and further develop the technique and its capabilities.
— How do you tune in to each new art work?
— For commercial works, I do not have to particularly tune in, since their subjects are predetermined, and then the already accumulated experience steps in. But for my own works, it's very different. Sometimes I can't squeeze anything out of myself for months. And sometimes I generate several prominent ideas in a couple of days. At such moments, of course, I feel euphoria. So my way is listening to myself, and catching that very creativity moment, just like catching a wave in surfing.
How we are working
1
To create a painting, we we process the photo into math function holographic type
2
Set around the circumference 280 aluminum rods, which in the future braided with monofilament
3
The image is formed by choice weaving sequences, which reaches 5000-6000 steps
— How long does it take to create 1 art work?
— When working with orders, we usually take a period of 5 days (7 days in the case of an individual order, for example, a portrait). In fact, it can take from several hours to several days of calculations, and up to 15 hours net time of knitting. Sometimes the length of the thread that creates the image reaches 5 kilometers.
— What subjects / plots inspire you if it's not a commercial art work?
— We not only want our works to demonstrate the capabilities of the technique that we have achieved, and neither only to photorealistically convey different subjects, but also that the subjects themselves be enhanced through the use of our technique. One single continuous string weaves all the work from the start to the end, densely filling the circle and connecting all parts of the work together. In math it's called transitivity. One string conveys the smallest play of light and shadow, and creates a solid tone or a gradient in one area of work, while condensing in another area for accurate rendering of the smallest nuances. All this carries a certain symbolism, and we always search for subjects in which this symbolism will unfold. Excellent examples in this regard are the "Earth Globe", where everything is interconnected with everything, or "The Kiss", which physically connects lovers into a single whole at the moment of their emotional union.
Already after 30 passes between the rivets, the number of possible patterns exceeds the number of atoms in the Universe. Therefore, each work of 4000-6000 connections is unique on the scale of the universe.
— What path of development do you see for your creativity?
— Sometimes it seems to me that we have reached the peak in this technique. Or should we rather call it the plateau. There are still many interesting subjects to work at, and that we learned to squeeze the maximum quality out of every commercial order. But to create something fundamentally new in string art, we must develop. We thought about creating color works, but realized that this path was not interesting to us. However, we moving on further and we will soon be showing a new string art technique that will greatly expand our capabilities. So follow on our Instagram not to miss it!
— What does an artist need to be happy?
— Happiness is multi-layered and personal, and I do not think that an artist in this regard is different from other people. But if we talk specifically about the happiness associated with self-expression, with the need for artistic statement, with the awareness and knowledge of oneself and one's connection with the big wide world, then perhaps it would be harder to achieve without commercial success and recognition of our works. So in this regard, we are very grateful to you, and to those online galleries who help us sell our works, and more than anyone else – the collectors who buy our works and then share their emotions. It is very supportive and helps us feel happy and ready to develop.
— How we can find / buy your works?
— We sell our gallery works in small editions of maximum 20 pieces and we also accept custom orders on our Instagram, @distinct.string.art . If one wants to buy our works in a gallery, we're presented on ArtFinder at https://www.artfinder.com/artist/dsa/ , but one should prepare themselves to the Gallery commission.

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