Category Archives: William (Bill) Anhang

Missive from Billsville (Bill Anhang)

Bill Anhang followed up our telephone conversation with this information – and a poem – about fractals. Seems that he stays in contact with other engineering brainiacs, like Benoit Mandelbrot, whom he chatted with in his fractal art days about five years ago. He has also spoken with Nick Holoniuk who is the inventor of the Light Emitting Diode, and Kapany, the inventor of optical fibers. The people who came up with Wireless Power are at MIT and due for his visit shortly.

I have never read a poem about fractals (or Mandelbrot) and I suspect few of you have either. Here it is:

 THE MANDELBROT JAMBOREE
 Ode to Fractals and their Papa Benoit

Olde Benoit Mandelbrodt was a  sailor
He set out on the high sees
For to encounter a monstor
he took along a Equastionee

He hid in a wave that was tossing
Its broiling top head in infinity
and hit it on the head solid
and full heavy mightily.

The wave lurched and it thundered
It toppled and squirted and
again and again
toppled and gave birth to a
Iiterative Gumblated Fractile Csea

Ole Benoit he grabbed it,
he spun it from pole to pole
and over the horizen and down
the equatorial and boreal
into one helluva crunching debris.

When it was all over,
and it lay calm at his shivering feet
Lo and behold he had it,
The Mandelbrot Jamboree…

Everyone stood in amazement,
transfixed as foxes at sea,
What is it?  they cried and shuddered
as the Mammoth settled to snooze,

Shouting, “Gimme oh gimme,
a thouzand bottles of booze….”
And forthcame from olde Bonoit’s
wooden stumps whereon he stood
Spiggots speewing maggots,
all soaking in the finest old  booze.

My Goodness, cried the rollicking  monster,
turning suddenly to fractals sonore
I’ll give ya all the fractals yee craves,
yee olde Mandelbrot spiggot of Lore.
Thus yielding to our Benoit endless supply of fractile gore.

Oh fractile so tactile and fragile and agile
Come lay your head at my feet
A  creptilian reptile whose flashes ductile
repose in Suctilian Ceasarian Solemnity.

William Anhang – playing with light

   

I’ve never met anyone quite like Bill Anhang. He is an octogenarian living in  Montreal, and has a long and interesting life-story to tell. He moved here from Poland with his parents in the 1940s and was, as he describes it, a typical Polish farm boy. After attending university in Winnipeg, he did his stint as an engineer in Canada and Israel.

Bill had no exposure to art, other than looking at another university student’s collection of drawings. It wasn’t until he took his own children to a demonstration of copper enameling that he was inspired to create works of his own. The pivotal point, it seems, is when a Guru told Bill to be an artist. He felt he had no option but to become an artist, and so he abandoned engineering and began his new life. That was around 1975, and he’s been experimenting with copper, painting, and fibre optics ever since.

The art on Bill’s website doesn’t show at its best, and I imagine it’s a dazzling experience to walk into his space. He hangs his artwork everywhere in Billsville, including the ceiling.

Bill’s art is a collaborative process because it is so complex. He designs an image and hands it over to assistants who help him execute the work. Glen Luckock and Mark Reid have been working with Bill for a long time. They paint the image on board, then Bill drills hundreds of holes into it and wires it with fibre optics. He talks about fractal designs in his work. (I had to look up the meaning of “fractal” and still don’t understand the mathematical explanation.) I can’t imagine anyone but an engineer being able to do this kind of work. He is eccentric, but he is brilliant. This Youtube video gives you a peek into Bill’s world.

          

Bill has a series of work called “Bill Illuminates Crepin”. Joseph Crepin (1875 – 1945) was a businessman in France, who discovered that he had powers of a divine healer. He produced drawings while in a trance-like state, and believed that he could end World War II by creating 300 paintings. Crepin’s works (directly above) are flat(ish) images, brightly coloured, and covered in paint dots. Bill has always admired Crepin’s work and his series is just as described – it is a fibre optic version of Crepin’s creations.

  

Another series is called “Bill Illuminates Mandelbrot”.  Again, I had to research something else in Billsville. Who or what is a Mandelbrot? Here’s what I learned from Wiki: The Mandelbrot set is a mathematical set of points whose boundary is a distinctive and easily recognizable two-dimensional fractal shape (directly above).The set is named after the mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot, who studied and popularized it. Oh. I can’t comment on this remarkable piece of information because I don’t understand it, but I do love the images. Perhaps it will make more sense to some of you.

It isn’t possible to talk to Bill about his art without discussing God. Bill’s faith drives his work. He believes that preachers have had their day, and now it’s up to the artists to use whatever tools they can do to convey the message that there is another level of existence. Art is the light of the infinite and Bill is one of its conduits.