James Nolan Gandy - just dandy!

When you were a child, did you ever have a Spirograph set? The never-ending array of patterns you could create using a ballpoint pen and different sized wheels was (and still is!) always guaranteed to provide hours of artistic fun!

In fact, I still have my spirograph set, and have been known to spend a relaxing hour here and there, revisting my childhood!

Today we are going to look at the work of an artist who takes our childhood Spirograph to a whole new level. James Nolan Gandy, from Florida, USA, creates wonderful abstract pictures using drawing machines that he builds himself. All images are courtesy of jamesnolangandy.com, unless otherwise stated.

Here are some pictures of James, his machines, and the work he creates:

James started off 20 years ago making custom furniture and began working with metal about 5 years ago. He learned about how mechanical pieces work together for different functions and started making the parts and mechanical movements for a variety of drawing machines.1

The harmonograph is a machine that uses pendulums and gimbals to draw visual representations of musical harmony. Changing the ratio by adjusting the weights creates a variety of geometric patterns.2

Mechanical Drawing Machine
Mechanical drawing machines produce visual representations of harmony. Complex geometric drawings are made through the use of pulleys, gears and epicyclic motion. These instruments demonstrate the harmonious union of engineering, physics, music and art.2

And there is not a computer in sight for any of this – he even has to change the pens manually to create an aesthetically pleasing, harmonious result. So James is fully involved in the artistic process, from the initial design to the final image produced.

Now we will spend a couple of minutes watching the mesmerising evolution James' of patterns using time lapse photography (and set to some quirky music):

Credit: fix

If you would like to see more of the wonderful drawings of James Gandy, click here.

And before I sign off a warm welcome to another new subscriber - J.M. in Sydney who has just joined the AnArt4Life blog on-line community.

Please remember that we love to get your ideas about topics to cover in the posts. So send in your suggestions for 2021 and we will see what we can do.


With thanks to:

  1. jamesnolangandy.com
  2. blog.adafruit.com/2018/02/20/james-nolan-gandys-drawing-machines