When not busy chatting on the subway with Jay-Z, the artist Ellen Grossman creates sculpture inspired by moiré patterns, a term used in physics to describe an interference pattern that results when two distinct waves or patterns come together. Below she describes her early morning eureka encounter with moiré, which begins as fear before becoming art.
“I live in New York City, near Tompkins Square Park, where I would often walk my dog in the pre-dawn hours. My attention to peripheral vision was heightened by awareness of possible danger beyond the street lights. Frequently I would perceive motion out of the corner of my eye, but when I stopped to look directly, nothing would be there, as if someone had disappeared into the shadows. This peripheral phenomenon seemed to vibrate and visually hover about a foot or two in front of the park fences. The phenomena unnerved me until I realized that I had seen shifting moiré patterns caused by my quick pace beside two parallel chain link fences. With this knowledge, my reaction to the moiré phenomena transitioned from fear to understanding.”