Rafael Araujo (1957), drawing and illustration.
His illustrations are bafflingly complex—so complex that you might assume the artist uses a computer to render the exacting angles and three-dimensional illusions. And true, if you were to recreate his intricate mathematical illustrations using software, it probably wouldn’t take you long at all. But the craziest part of all is that Araujo doesn’t use modern technology to create his intricately drawn Calculations series—unless, of course, you count a ruler and protractor.
Working on an old drafting table, Araujo began drawing his own perspective illustrations, eyeballing the trigonometry to plot dot sequences that would allow him to create curved shapes like double helixes and cones. If you look closely at Araujo’s drawings, you’ll notice each of the main shapes sits within a line-drawn square or rectangle—he began adding this to his works after realizing these scaffolding boxes created a more reliable way to correctly position the dots.
Even with the added embellishments, his work is restrained and exacting. But that scientific honesty is also what makes his illustrations so visually compelling. Scientists and mathematicians often say there’s a comfort in their work because they know there’s always a right and wrong answer. It’s the same with Araujo’s art.