Kaleidoscope Dreams: “Mandala”

Justin W. Waldrop "Mandala" (2019)

“Mandala” is the second image (click here for the first) from Kaleidoscope Dreams that took a large number of drafts to arrive at a finalized release version. As with most of the images in this series, it looks nothing like it began as.

“Mandala” Original Image

This piece actually began when I was fabric shopping to reupholster a vintage stool I’d purchased at market. I found a particularly vibrant green design with a mid-century modern graphic overlay that I felt particularly attracted to. Sadly, I was unable to get the fabric but did snap a quick picture of the pattern in the hopes of doing something with it.

Justin W. Waldrop "Mandala" 2019
“Mandala” (2019)

“Mandala” began simply enough but as I worked with the pattern and turned the image into itself, I wanted it to reflect more depth and a wider array of the spectrum. After thinking I’d finished the piece, I’d take a step back and end up diving further into the work until I arrived at this final version.

At first glance, it may seem like a simple effect but if the image is blown to full resolution, the detailing I implemented on the pixel level reveals the complexity of the intent behind this image.

Kaleidoscope Dreams: “Chain”

Last year an idea came to me that seemed simple enough: find a kaleidoscope and shoot through it. As a child, I’d always found kaleidoscopes entertaining (keep in mind this was long before smartphones).

“Chain” (2019)

I spent a weekend perusing every store I thought might have such a device – to no avail. In the era of the digital screen, it would seem that kaleidoscopes have become a thing of the past – something to find in time capsules or in dusty attics.

Months later I began to play with mirror effects and 3D illusion to create digital art using my photography as the base image. Eventually, after many rounds of trial-and-error, I began to create images that harked back to those days laying on my back in my childhood bedroom staring down those throwaway cardboard cylinders full of tiny bits of broken glass.

“Chain” Original Image (2019)

“Chain” is the first of my new series “Kaleidoscope Dreams” that I’m releasing. The title of the piece itself is exactly what this image is: chain.

As with most of my latest work, the base image is obscure, unassuming, some might even say ugly. I strive to take subjects such as these and turn them into something surprising and beautiful.