Juliet Fiss, a computer scientist and emerging abstract conceptual painter based in Kirkland, Washington, integrates process art and data visualization with abstract expressionism and abstract landscape in her creative endeavors. Her paintings are characterized by vibrant colors, intricate textures, and meticulous detailing.
Possessing a B.S. in Imaging Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Washington, Juliet has harbored a lifelong fascination with abstract art. During her graduate school years, she confronted a significant health challenge that necessitated an extended medical leave spanning the pandemic years. To uplift her spirits during recovery, she delved into painting as a creative hobby.
In the course of her artistic journey, Juliet transitioned from a recreational pursuit to crafting mathematical art, using it as a medium to convey her thoughts on natural patterns and the cosmos. She shares her life with her supportive husband, Xander, and takes inspiration from the captivating colors, textures, and natural patterns abundant in the Pacific Northwest’s breathtaking wilderness and wildlife.
Artrepreneur: How does your choice of subject matter reflect your values and interests?
JF: Conceptually, I enjoy creating art based on my interests in mathematics, computer science, and the physical sciences. For example, the series of paintings I am working on now is about the fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithm, an essential algorithm used in audio and image processing, communications, and scientific data analysis. Aesthetically, much of my visual vocabulary is based on shapes and textures I see in plants, bird feathers, butterfly wings, and other natural things.
ATP: Can you tell us about your creative process from ideation to completion?
JF: To create one of my pieces inspired by mathematics and computer science, I first spend some time reading textbooks and watching lectures about the source material. Next, I draw a grid or geometric scaffolding that reflects the structure of the algorithm. For some pieces, I collect data and process it on the computer to get it ready to visualize. Before I start painting, I go for a long walk in nature. When I get back to my studio, I paint whatever comes to me naturally. I follow the scaffolding that I previously laid down, but I let my subconscious decide what pigments, marks, and symbols to use.
Artrepreneur: Can you describe the role of intuition in your creative process? How much do you rely on instinct versus planning when creating a painting?
JF: My mathematical art is conceptual process art. When I am creating a visualization of an algorithm, I follow that algorithm when I paint. For example, some of my paintings visualize the prime factorization of the integers using an algorithm called the Sieve of Eratosthenes. In this algorithm, each prime number is represented with a unique color and symbol, and that symbol is marked down for all multiples of that prime number. I choose the color and symbol for each prime number intuitively as I paint. So, the overall process is planned, but the specific marks that I make on the canvas within those constraints are completely intuitive.
Artrepreneur: How does the process of creating art affect your mood or mindset? Do you find it therapeutic or challenging?
JF: I find painting to be very meditative. I have recently begun to create large-scale art, which I find both therapeutic and challenging. I have a neurological condition that can make it hard to stand for long periods. When I am painting, my mind is occupied, and my body can stand for longer. It’s a way for me to build strength.
Artrepreneur: Looking ahead, what are some new directions or experiments you hope to explore in your future artwork?
JF: I’m planning to create more large-scale FFT paintings in the next year. After that…well, my mind is always filled with ideas, so it can be a challenge to choose just a few. I want to paint birds, more of the Pacific Northwest landscape, and something about quantum computing.
Artrepreneur: Are there any specific features or resources on artrepreneur.com that have been particularly valuable in advancing your artistic goals?
JF: I enjoy browsing through the past and current Open Calls, even if I don’t apply. It’s interesting to see what kind of art commercial clients are looking for. I would like to have my work hanging up in commercial spaces, especially where people do scientific and technical work.
Artrepreneur: Have you found the platform to be effective in connecting you with opportunities, promoting your work, or expanding your network within the art community?
JF: Yes, I have. I have met several artists through participating in the Open Calls. I appreciate that Artrepreneur shares my work, which connects me with people who might be interested in it! One of the best parts of being an artist is connecting with the community of artists and art lovers.
To view more of Juliet’s work please visit her Artrepreneur profile.