WIU Alumna, Employee, Wins Top Prize at Illinois State Fair

StateFair_01Western Illinois University graduate and office manager Deb Lutz, of Good Hope, has mixed art and geometry into a project that won first prize in the digital imagery division at the Illinois State Fair.

Lutz received her bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and justice administration from Western in 1984 and a second bachelor’s degree in graphic communication in 2005. She is currently the office manager in the WIU Department of Geography.

Lutz’s winning artistic piece is a fractal, which is a representation of a geometric math equation. Fractals are often endlessly repeating patterns, which vary according to a set formula. The winning project is titled “Swirlfrost” and this is the first time she entered one of her pieces in the Illinois State Fair.

“A fractal is a pattern that reveals greater complexity as it is enlarged and is a computer-generated image that graphically represents the behavior of a mathematical equation,” Lutz said.
Fractals are actually geometric figures, just like rectangles, circles and squares, but much of fractal geometry represents a particular symmetry of scale, called self-similarity, which can visually model natural phenomenon like coastlines, ferns, ice crystals, snowflakes and mountains.

Using a computer program to generate the images from a variety of equations, the fractals are considered “math equations expressed in form and color.” Once rendered from the generator, she can then make adjustments in Photoshop.

Lutz has copyrighted more than 200 fractals and loves the fact they are “infinitely varied and never get boring.”
“I brag about them without shame because I feel as if all I’ve done is take a photograph of an extremely beautiful natural phenomenon that’s ‘out there’ but unknown,” she said. “All I’ve done is stumble across the exact equation that each image represents. I love bringing them to the world at large and feel they belong as artworks so wish to present them as such.”

More of her work can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/deblutzfractals. She will also be exhibiting in the upcoming “Perspectives” show at the West Central Illinois Art Center in downtown Macomb and one of her pieces has been accepted to the national juried show, “64 Arts,” at the Buchanan Center in Monmouth.

Lutz is also one of the artists chosen for “Rocky on Parade,” a project that will result in numerous fiberglass “Rocky” mascot dogs being artistically decorated and placed around Macomb.