MM: Tell us a bit about yourself outside of “Dearing Draws.” What else do you like? Where do you live? etc.
DW: I just returned from Shanghai where I followed a course on Mandarin and Chinese culture at the Jiaotong University while I worked on my tutorials. But most of my life I have lived in Amsterdam. Besides drawing I love to dance salsa with my wife. To me it is in some ways a different mathematical art form that also is about rhythm and harmony celebrating life. Just like geometric art is.
MM: What was math like for you as a kid? Did you ever do mathy things outside of school?
DW: To me math was more about calculus and arithmetic than it was about geometry. I wasn’t fascinated by it. Perhaps it was the teachers that didn’t inspire me. I did not understand how math described the universe on a fundamental level as it was proclaimed. Which is what interested me more than the technique of calculating. I was more drawn to the spectacular ideas and stories of physics and other science books. But I remember becoming more fascinated by mathematics in high school when I came across an extra page as side info in my math book on the Koch snow flake fractal. I knew then there was more to math than just calculus and Euclid theorems and started to read more about fractals.
MM: Do you have other mathematical artists that you like?
DW: In my teens I’ve been influenced a lot by M.C. Escher. His work just threw me into a rabbit hole from the moments I layed my eyes on his works. Later on this led me to study his works in more detail. Because of his study of the works of Alhambra I later became fascinated by Islamic Architecture. In recent years I have started following artists on Instagram like I_Am_Electric and Tony Graystone.I like their ways of using ink to create visual effects with geometry in some of their works.
MM: How do you come up with ideas for your designs? What sorts of things do you look for or like about them?
DW: I have a few guidelines to steer me towards my final designs. I can name a few. For example I usually think in terms of divisions,symmetries and ratios. For instance, when I want to share the theme and beauty of a 5 Fold symmetry I would start with dividing the circle in 5 five sections. Because I especially like fractal geometry I would focus on how to make the geometry of subdivisions interesting by a creating series of ‘infinitys’. Usually geometry is a logical process. New shapes appear because of intersections of previous drawn lines. For instance, if you draw a pentagram, within that shape there is a pentagon. But if you connect the corners of the pentagon, you would get another pentagram just a smaller one. These interesting features create countless possibilities in my thought world. And give me the tools to play with these concepts into art. And of course, the world is filled with countless examples of beautiful Architecture and Art and Industrial designs to draw inspiration from.
MM: What came first for you, the math or the art?
DW: That is a complicated question. I believe there is a proto platonic world of perfect form where art and math are indistinguishable, which then became divorced in this world. So for me the essence of art is mathematical, and the essence of mathematics is to portray beauty and harmony and therefore art. So I would say that they belong together and should not be separated. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been interested in the first place.
MM: Pick out a favorite piece of mathematical art (not your own) and tell us about it, would you?
DW: I’ve been inspired by the works of Buckminster Fuller. His works combine geodesic mathematics with architecture. His buildings display futuristic forms as seen in famous series like Star Trek or movies like Star Wars. In some way the geometric forms are classical in their essence but built using modern materials like glass and stainless steel. It fascinates me that the platonic solids are still very well alive in modern times.
MM: Do you have another job, or is Dearing Draws your full-time gig?
DW: I’ve quit my job to follow my passion and I am focussing solely on Dearing Draws in order to share my knowledge with the world.
MM: How does a mathematical artist make money? Where and How? Do you sell your art?
MM: Do you have a parting message for our readers?