Shockfossils: 5 million volts of electric art

Electrons gone wild burn their way through acrylic slabs to create Shockfossils, branching works of art that capture the raw power of electricity.

Zap! It's much safer than standing in a lightning storm. Todd Johnson

Jackson Pollock had his paint splatters. Auguste Rodin had his bronzes. Todd Johnson has a 5-million-volt particle accelerator.

Johnson creates works of art by sending pieces of acrylic through a bombardment of electron beams. The electrons get trapped inside.

Shockfossil side view
A side view of a Shockfossil lit up with LEDs. (Click to enlarge.) Todd Johnson

A tap with a sharp, insulated tool sets them free, and they melt elaborate branching patterns into the acrylic slabs. These lightning displays are known as Lichtenberg figures.

Add some LED edge lighting to illuminate the threads and you get Shockfossils, wild fractal art that will appease both your aesthetic and geek sensibilities.

Careful application of lead shielding can guide the electrons into shapes. Johnson has created a butterfly, a dragonfly, and a tree, among others. He's open to purchasing inquiries, but doesn't list prices.

The video below will take you behind the scenes of the creation. Any chance we'll see some of this art from the trillions of volts the Large Hadron Collider can generate? That would be pretty sweet.

(Via Luxury Launches)

Featured Video

How Pixar created the world of 'The Good Dinosaur'

Pixar's upcoming new film imagines what it would have been like if dinosaurs never became extinct.'s Lexy Savvides reports on how real-world data helped make the movie's prehistoric landscapes look incredibly authentic.

by Lexy Savvides