Mesmerizing Inked Spirals Created by a Hypnotic Drawing Machine | My Modern Met

By Margherita Cole on February 25, 2022

The patterns drawn are like visual music… there’s a hypnotic rhythm to each drawing.

It’s easy to be baffled by the art of James Nolan Gandy at first glance. These mesh-like drawings, which range from neon-colored to black and white, appear to fold, curve, and vibrate above the paper. If you think it would be impossible for someone to produce these illustrations, you wouldn’t be wrong. But, you wouldn’t be completely correct, either. After creating custom furniture for 20 years, Nolan began working with metal, and one of the first projects he embarked on was a hand-built drawing machine. Several years later, he demonstrates the skills of his invention by making fascinating mechanical drawings.

From hypnotic spirals to amorphous forms to rainbow starbursts, these illustrations take on innumerable shapes. And while these labyrinthine lines appear to blend together from afar, a closer view of the drawing allows you to make out the many marks that go into creating this hypnotic effect. These patterns are not at random, however. Since the drawing machine is completely analog with just an electric motor, Nolan creates the ratio of each design by making small adjustments to the pulleys and gears of the drawing machine. The left and right drawing hands determine where the lines go and how frequently they are applied, respectively. Despite the device’s limitations, Nolan is able to continually produce new compositions by readjusting the ratio.[…]

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