Artist Process Video Series: Michelle Chandra of Dirt Alley Design - Artist Process Video Series: Michelle Chandra of Dirt Alley Design -
Artist Process Video Series: Michelle Chandra of Dirt Alley Design

Artist Process Video Series: Michelle Chandra of Dirt Alley Design

Written by:
Lillie Therieau
Aug 06, 2020

If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re kicking off a killer art process video series highlighting some of our featured artists and their processes. The IPaintMyMind permanent collection boasts over 50 artists! That’s right — fifty! We love all of them and want to showcase the range of styles, focuses, and mediums represented in our 1000+ piece collection. 

We thought that an artist process video series would help you all get familiar with some of our superstar artists. You can learn about their background, their work, and their process, all while getting inspired for your own creative pursuits. We already have a fantastic video from Russell Muits aka Storm Print City here


Michelle Chandra of Dirt Alley Design

Next on deck is one of our newer acquisitions, Michelle Chandra, and her incredible geometric work inspired by nature and the human body. Michelle works in the San Francisco Bay area, and runs her own design company called Dirt Alley Design. Whether it be her eye-catching spirographs or her Maze Maps, Michelle’s prints are more than meet the eye. They are all produced by computer generated code that she created herself. (She just happens to have a Masters in Programming, Data Art, and Cartography from NYU, because yeah, she’s that cool!) The incredible, complex, and flowing organic forms of her pieces are all made from pure code and mathematics. Wow!



In her IPMM artist process video, Michelle gives us an inside look at how she approaches her art. Her spirograph inspired pieces are created by a computer program that tells a pen plotter to place shapes around a central point. The placement of the shapes themselves are based on waveforms, which repeat over and over again. Waveforms are mathematical, but they create beautiful natural looking shapes and patterns as they repeat. 

Michelle loves using these mathematical and scientific concepts to create beautiful images. She is deeply influenced by the symmetry which is found everywhere in nature. Rotational symmetry pops up in all of her patterns, which is a kind of symmetry often seen in plants, rock formations, and animals. 

She also likes to play with broken code, or what happens when her intended programming is executed differently than she intended, or if she interrupts the process before the pen plotter is done. These happy accidents often create super cool effects in her finished pieces!

Another very interesting approach Michelle takes to her art is incorporating cartography. She has done other series of fantasy Maze Maps, and focused a lot of mapping in her studies. In some of her pieces, she uses real cartographical data, like shorelines, as her repeating form. 


A Deep Dive Into A Unique Process With Our Artist Process Video Series

In the second half of the video, Michelle demos her pen plotter. She shows us a design she created with repeating rotated hearts. The movement of the pen is all determined from the computer, from where the pen goes, to how fast it goes. It’s mesmerizing to watch the simple geometrical form of the heart take on accumulating layers of complexity. It’s kind of like an ASMR video to watch the design take shape! 

Michelle’s work unlocks the joy and nostalgia of pattern recognition, mazes, and spirographs in all of us. She taps into a deep human affinity for patterns, repetition, and symmetry with her prints, any one of which I think I could stare at for hours! Her artistic process is super interesting and multilayered. Don’t miss out on this inspiring video. 


Michelle Chandra and her process.


Stay tuned for more of our Artist Process Video series, and check out an interview we did with Michelle Chandra on our blog. 

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Written by:
Lillie Therieau
Aug 06, 2020
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