It is nice to hear from old friends. Arto Papasian is one of my oldest and best friends; we’ve known each other since nursery school. So it was very nice the other day when he sent me an e-mail from Hamburg, Germany, where he lives now, to tell me he follows my Facebook page and that he knew my paintings of Pi and related subjects. His memory is better than mine. He asked me, “Do you remember when our math teacher in the 8th grade, Mr. Matalon, would write this sentence, “Que j’aime a faire apprendre un nombre utile aux sages,” on the blackboard to teach us the first eleven numbers of Pi?” I did not and still don’t, but I’ll take his word for it. This phrase roughly translates to “I like to teach a useful number to the wise.”
This reminder inspired my new paintings that feature the first eleven numbers of Pi: 3.1415926535. In Opus 147, Que J’aime…, these first eleven numbers of Pi have been used in their corresponding colors (from the visual color spectrum) as the background for this mnemonic.
In Opus 154, Pi 11, I used the first eleven numbers with their colors as non-uniform areas. For instance, “1” (in red) is one unit. All the other areas, although different shapes, are a multiple of the red. The nine in the brown area is 9 times larger than 1.