There is a certain sweet-spot between order and randomness that creates richness in a visual experience. Mike Cantor's work attempts to attack this sweet spot across multiple axes simultaneously, including across color, texture, shape, scale, location, and cardinality. Order is created by constructing a small element, for instance, three beads attached to a tile sample with a dot of paint, and then creating a family of variations on the element, other families of elements, and recombinations of elements into larger elements. At every step of the production -- in creating variations over color and texture, in varying the complexity of the elements, in determining the number of each element, in physically placing the elements on a canvas, and even in alternating between the processes of element creation and element placement -- the goal is to employ statistical distributions that render within this sweet-spot.
Recently, Mike Cantor has been experimenting with stop-motion animation. The original idea was to try to capture the inherent beauty in things like random spills of beads. His stop-motion ambitions, however, have been hi-jacked by a singularly obsessive project involving a home-made 24x17 grid of 1.5" velcro dots. His fascination with the project stems from the interplay of pattern at two levels: in the temporal patterns of velcro "pixels" moving across the board, and in the rich color and texture variations within each individual dot.
In his day job, Mike Cantor works at the Joint Genome Institute, where he wields his freshly minted PhD in Bioinformatics (loosely: the analysis of pattern in biological data) to build web-based visualization tools for genome sequence data. His work as an artist has been influenced by his life in science, but he couldn't exactly tell you how, even if it seems obvious.
Mike Cantor hails originally from Newton, Ma. and has dressed up as Larry Bird approximately one dozen times. He currently resides in Oakland, CA.