Mesmerizing Inked Spirals Created by a Hypnotic Drawing Machine

Mechanical Drawing Created by Drawing Machine by James Nolan Gandy

It's easy to be baffled by the art of James Nolan Gandy at first glance. These mesh-like drawings, which range from neon-colored to black and white, appear to fold, curve, and vibrate above the paper. If you think it would be impossible for someone to produce these illustrations, you wouldn't be wrong. But, you wouldn't be completely correct, either. After creating custom furniture for 20 years, Nolan began working with metal, and one of the first projects he embarked on was a hand-built drawing machine. Several years later, he demonstrates the skills of his invention by making fascinating mechanical drawings.

From hypnotic spirals to amorphous forms to rainbow starbursts, these illustrations take on innumerable shapes. And while these labyrinthine lines appear to blend together from afar, a closer view of the drawing allows you to make out the many marks that go into creating this hypnotic effect. These patterns are not at random, however. Since the drawing machine is completely analog with just an electric motor, Nolan creates the ratio of each design by making small adjustments to the pulleys and gears of the drawing machine. The left and right drawing hands determine where the lines go and how frequently they are applied, respectively. Despite the device's limitations, Nolan is able to continually produce new compositions by readjusting the ratio.

Gandy shares videos of the creative process on his Instagram, which many followers enjoy for its soothing, repetitive qualities. In these clips, the mechanical hands move across the paper at a steady pace, adding more ink to the paper with every movement. And while the method can take an hour or more in real life, the sped-up footage will make it seem like instantaneous magic.

You can purchase original mechanical drawings via Gandy's website and keep up to date with his latest projects via Instagram.

Artist James Nolan Gandy constructed an analog drawing machine that can create mesmerizing designs.

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Watch these videos to see the drawing machine at work:

 

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James Nolan Gandy: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by James Nolan Gandy.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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