Last week I posted about science and art, and how, in my opinion, creativity is something that is inherent to the success of both of these fields. Today I’m posting a few examples of scientists that are also artists – going some way to demonstrate my points from that blog post whilst showcasing some of the wonderful artist-scientists that I know of.
Christine is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, where she researches the relationship between nicotine and the brain’s dopamine system. In her spare time she is one half of science/art mega-force, Two Photon Art. Two Photon have been going for a few years now, making zines, enamel pin badges, fabric patches and more. Christine’s passion and drive for equity, diversity and inclusion in the sciences, and in STEM more widely, is nothing short of inspirational. Her art reflects her passion – many of Two Photon’s products contribute a percentage of profits to initiatives such as Girls Who Code, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and West Oakland Punks with Lunch.
Jen is currently completing her PhD in Dr. Peter Zandstra’s Stem Cell Bioengineering Lab at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on developing a novel platform for rapid enumeration of rare blood stem cells based on their unique genetic markers. I’ve followed Jen’s work on Instagram for months, particularly through the STEAMotype lettering challenge that she founded to infuse the worlds of calligraphy and hand-lettering with science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, and I was lucky enough to meet her when I was in Toronto recently. We had a brilliant conversation about how art can help scientists to reach members of the public that are less likely to seek out science in their every day lives, and I’m super excited to see where her career goes over the coming years.
I found Lauren through a post on Christine Liu’s Twitter; The Two Photon team took their products to the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting earlier this year, and Lauren made a guest appearance alongside them. Lauren is completing her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, where she’s working in Dr Darrin Brager and Dr Dan Johnston’s lab to investigate the physiological properties of inhibitory interneurons in the stratum oriens of the hippocampus. Her Instagram bio claims she’s a ‘novice embroiderer’ but her designs look pretty professional to me!
I found Lily through a Facebook group for small business owners that I’m part of, then saw her pop up on the In Colourful Company Instagram page and knew I had to find out more about her work. Lily is a Physicist, Illustrator, and lover of woodland creatures – and her artwork is too adorable for words. I’d love to work on a collaboration between Lily in Space Designs and Science On A Postcard this year, and we have discussed it before, so hopefully we can make it happen in 2019 🙂
You might recognise Nina’s work from Science On A Postcard products that I’ve mentioned on this blog previously – Nina was the first artist that we collaborated with! She illustrated 3 wonderful women in science (Mae Jemison, Rita Levi-Montalcini, and Gertrude Ellon) to go alongside quotes that we picked out to produce a set of 5 ‘Women in Science’ postcards. By day Nina is a Medical Writer, but she’s consistently working to raise the profile of women in science through illustrations that she showcases on her Instagram and Twitter pages. I’m looking forward to find out about more inspirational women as Nina continues to draw!
Rachel is another wonderful scientist and artist that I’ve met recently – I’ve been a fan of her work for years so I had a bit of a fan girl moment meeting her whilst I was in New York last week! Anyway, Rachel is a freelancer working largely as a Medical Writer as well as growing the Rachel Blair Ink brand along side that. Her background is in Biology and Epidemiology, and lots of her work has been around infectious disease and vaccinations, which makes her perspective as both a scientist, illustrator and patient, super interesting. She’s passionate about fostering science literacy in the public, and encouraging women to pursue careers in science and technology.
Know of other scientists that are also working on creative projects in their spare time (or maybe that’s you!)? Leave a comment below and share links to their work so that I can continue spending my money with wonderful independent creatives.
I couldn’t write this blog post without mentioning another artist. Oliver Dean is not scientist, he’s an illustrator of science – so I’ve included him as an honorable mention.
Oliver is a freelance illustrator and designer based in the UK, he works with STEM researchers and educators (and others, but his STEM-related work is incredible) to “enhance the position of those I work with so that they may engage and inspire more people, break down barriers and challenge thinking through new ways of communication.”