About Tessellations.org | ABOUT SETH BAREISS | About Dr. David Annal

If you would like to contact Seth, please do. He can be reached through this website's "contact page", here.


Seth was born in 1964, in northern New Jersey. He apologizes.
Disreputable sources tell us, as soon as he could talk he insisted upon moving across the border to New York.

His grandafather was a self-educated Republican politician who rose to the height of mayor of Ridgewood, New Jersey, a rank slightly below dogcatcher yet a notch above sidewalk washer. His grandmother was a lifelong Democrat, model, teacher,and homemaker (and speechwriter for her husband) with a degree in education and a second degree in psychology. Nobody's quite sure why she, a liberal, wrote all his speeches and stayed married to him for over 50 years. Perhaps it's because her child and grandchildren have all become happy, intellectual liberals.

His mother was an adopted child originally born to a French-Canadian schoolteacher. She became an artist with an I.Q. somewhere north of 160. Seth's father was an engineer who rose to become the head of research and technology at St. Regis Paper Company. St. Regis made many kinds of paper including Fritos corn chip bags. St. Regis was acquired by D. S. Smith Inc. in 1986.

Seth is both an artist and engineer: If a child is sometimes the fruit of a marriage, this "apple" has not fallen far from either "tree". He was the middle child between an older left-handed athletic but antisocial, often angry, lightly dyslexic brother and gregarious younger half-sister. The brother has become an accountant; the sister, a social worker. If you met these three in a room with randomly selected other caucasian Americans, you'd find yourself unable to guess which three were related.

Seth was encouraged both in art and science from an early age. His mother helped him to draw homemade illustrated books as soon as he could hold a pencil. His grandparents contributed twice-yearly Academy sketch pads and other art supplies at Christmas and on birthdays.

Although he had above average intelligence, he believed the reverse until the end of 6th grade when his father wrote in his graduation book, "This is the god of intelligence. Seth is intelligent." He also got a peek at other kids' report cards, which further clued him in. Despite this, he was painfully shy from the start until about age 14, even needing handpuppets to "talk for him" in kindergarten.

He discovered M. C. Escher in the library of Felix V. Festa Junior High School (where a classmate is now the art teacher). The library card for his favorite Escher book contained his name repeatedly, without other names, for the two years he attended. Stupidly, he guessed that the grayscale etchings (wood endgrain cutting & printing) were pencil sketches, and so he threw himself into a 30-year period in which he used pencils in preference to all other art tools.

He continued to develop as a grayscale sketch artist although his mother was mostly an oil painter. He did not develop a strong interest in color or painting until hospitalized for several months in Hiroshima in the year 2000, when a friend gifted him with water-color pencils and a water "fude" (brush pen).

He won dozens of weekly art contests sponsored by the local newspaper "The Journal News", and a mother's day illustration contest, before the age of 10. He didn't fare as well in science, only winning two "honorable mention" awards in 3 elementary school science fairs. In late high school, however, he won a New York Energy Research Grant while attending college-level physics classes. On the national AP (Advanced Placement) college physics exam that year, he scored in the top 1% of all people taking the exam.

Seth was given years of "clay class" instruction at the local community arts center, but an experiment in letting him take a similar painting class were a total disaster. He dropped out of painting lessons very early, saying that the teacher had laid her large brush on his canvas, smearing his smaller brushwork, thus "making it her painting, not mine." He wouldn't try art classes again until sketch and painting lessons in University.


Like thousands of people, Seth suffers from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Typical ADHD kids are hyperactive prior to age 5, then drift back to normal energy levels but possess several clear personality traits. Some of those traits are positives; some are negatives. Amongst the positives are a tendency toward intelligence, creativity, and the ability to spot patterns and "lost or hidden things" faster than normal. Some psychologists call this the "hunter" trait. The negatives include habitual blurting, being quick to anger, and inability to prioritize or stick to a schedule. ADHD people also are more messy and accident prone than normal, and oddly are both more distractable and more able to concentrate on addictive behaviors or pastimes.

Hyperactivity and autism may have common features: both, for example, feel like "all signals coming into the brain are at equal priority, like whispers and shouts are all attached to alarm bells".

We said that ADHD people are accident prone. Seth has had more than his share of accidents: a broken lower leg while bike riding around age 10; a shattered femur and drawing forearm while horseriding in 1987; and in the 2000-2012 period, four motorcycle accidents resulting in a shattered lower leg, spiral fracture of the femur, and two breaks of the lower forearm of his writing hand. Mothers, don't let your kids ride anything that has twice the muscle power of a footballer and less than half the brains. Motorbikes especially are built wrongly-- they have all the metal on the INside, leaving YOU as a bumper on the outside.


Following a femur break in 2012 and five years of progressively increasing use of crutches due to heart failure in 2007, Seth has since January of 2013 been the happy user of a manual wheelchair. These things are fun and effortless compared to crutches. Imagine, for example, standing on line at a store or bank. Imagine it first as a normal person, then as someone using crutches, and then as someone who has had the foresight to bring a chair along. You see? Wheelchairs are wonderful things except for hiking, crossing lawns, and trying to get past a sandy or rocky beach into the water.

Note: a heart failure is not the same as a heart attack. In a heart attack, the heart simply stops working. It goes on coffee break, strikes, or quits. In a heart failure, the heart loses strength, usually permanently...much like the Energizer Bunny™ on weak batteries. In Seth's case, the heart failure was without apparent cause, and permanent. Likely causes are genetic or a virus that was obliterated with antiviral medicines at the time of hospital admission.

Seth says "I love adventure; I'm just not very good at it. You know those Indiana Jones type adventures, where Indy wrestles alligators, jumps over canyons, and races down rickety rails in gold mines? Indy always says 'Whew, that was close' while the mions behind him scream and fall into a pit. I'm like that-- cursed with the luck of a minion." He collects adventure-related scars and slow-healing bone breaks the way some people collect bumper stickers and T-shirts. The scars now represent a fairly accurate Florida bus map. All this has led to a general creakiness of the knees and elbow that no amount of WD-40™ will fix. WORLD TRAVEL

Seth speaks three languages: English, Japanese, and German. Make that four languages, if you think people from New York City and northern New Jersey speak something closer to gorilla grunts than to English. Yaknowwhaddamean? Fuhgeddaboudit.

He has lived in the US states of New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachussetts, Texas, and Hawaii. He now makes his home in Hawaii, where the languages, wheelchair-friendly buses, and weather all make that state a paradise.

Seth is fond of quoting Mark Twain, who said "travel is the cure for prejudice." Seth has lived in America, Japan, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, and Saipan. He has visited South Korea, Mexico, and Canada.

That's Australia-- where men are men, women are women, kangaroos are majority shareholders, kids named 'Joey' have an extra bounce in their step, the government gives its people universal health care (without Republicans constantly trying to take it away), and the Great Barrier Reef floats like a sparkling halo around the continent.

Japan, where weather is London-ish, homes are half-heated, people are polite, and food is served in too-small proportions.

Seth would like one day to return to Japan, Australia, and Palau, and to visit New Zealand, where men are men, women are women, all the children have cuu-u-u-urly haa-a-a-a-air, and the fjords are fjantastically fjun.


For Seth, hobbies and jobs are almost indistinguishable except that one or more pay the bills. He has variously made his living as a language, art, and computer skills teacher, computer advice newspaper columnist, magazine illustrator and editorial cartoonist, website designer, submarine co-pilot (yes, really), computer nerd/repairman/teacher, SCUBA instructor, and Japanese-English-German translator.


Seth was initally drawn only to M. C. Escher's trick perspective pictures, not to Escher's tessellations. It wasn't until 2005, at roughly age 40, that he began doing tessellation. The inspiration & drive came when someone told him, "I think the lizard motif in tessellation has pretty much been used up. There aren't any more possibilities in that motif."

The same year, Seth won his first of three consecutive first prizes in the international tessellation contest run twice yearly by "World of Escher" (dot com) from about 1995 to about 2010. The contest-winning entries were alligators and lions (the lizard tessellation that arose from that moment of inspiration), dancers, also known as bootlickers, and the wheel of Pegasis, also known as four motifs.

Tessellations.org was first opened on 30th October, 2003 by Dr. David Annal. American Seth Bareiss joined in December of 2005 as co-webmaster, when Dr. David Annal, the original webmaster, realized that his cancer would soon take him away from us.

Seth has been the sole webmaster of Tessellations.org since Doctor David's gentle passing in mid-2008.