When someone says science, what is the first thing that pops into our head? Is it a lab, the photo that accompanies this post, an astronaut, or maybe a stern looking person in a starched white coat? What about art? We (still) tend to view the arts and the sciences as two separate realms, even though they have a lot in common!
Here are five people who are using their artistic skills to make science more accessible to the general public.
Muddles runs @IAmSciArt, a Twitter account run by rotational curation. This means a new science artist takes over the account every week. Followers get a taste of what it’s like to be a science artist, and are introduced to an array of new and exciting art. By day, she works at a genome centre in Toronto, and this shows through her work. Muddles primarily makes fashion pieces, including a whole host of clothing, temporary tattoos, and ceramic jewelry. She also makes magnets and ceramics, including this amazing chip and dip bowl, which is modeled on a eukaryotic cell. Molecular biologists, rejoice! When she’s not looking after @IAmSciArt, she tweets from @VexedMuddler.
Collver is an illustrator and comics artist who is currently working on an MA in Science Communication. Much of his work is editorially based, though he has designed posters, and also draws comics for fun! He has assisted in the artistic production of Vanguard Science, and collaborated with many writers to produce educational comics. He has also produced art for conceptually interesting comics, such as A Certain Symmetry, which is wholly symmetrical. You can find him @JordanCollver on Twitter.
According to Idan Ben-Barak, “[the] number of microbes per square centimetre of human skin: upward of 100,000”. Nicole Edmond draws inspiration from this fact, and her interest in microbial life is quite apparent in her artwork. As she has stated herself, “science is itself an exploration of life and an endeavor to understand the complexity of the spaces we inhabit,” and art is a way in which many people conduct such an exploration. Much of her artwork is devoted to microbiology, including her Paramecium prints. She is based primarily in Canada, producing exhibitions, combining her prints with book-binding techniques, and running her own Etsy shop, where you can find anything from buttons and magnets to paper and prints. Follow her @NicolePrints for more microbe related art!
Sunstrum is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has, however, travelled the world, creating art and collecting inspiration along the way. She is interested in scientific theories, and the ways in which we engage with the conception of space – on Earth, and in the universe at large. Her alter-ego, Asme, who can be seen in the picture below, often makes appearances in her work, “superimposed with overlapping gestures as a means of suggesting compounded time, illustrating her universal, atemporal existence”. She has shown in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums, and a select number of works are also for sale. Follow her on Twitter here.
Banks paints scarves and petri dish ornaments, and blogs at The Finch and Pea. Banks is not a scientist by trade, but an artist who was (and still is) constantly inspired by biological images. She has presented her work at many festivals and galleries, but she also sells her wares on Etsy. Her ornaments and prints are hand made and individually painted, while her scarves are painted, photographed, and screen-printed onto fabric. Wearable, individualised science art – who could ask for anything more? Follow her @artologica on Twitter.
Science communication is becoming increasingly important, and visual art is a medium often overlooked by scientists and science communicators. The emergence of more science artists, no matter their methods, will play a significant role in convincing the general public that science isn’t just for scientists – it’s for everyone.