SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Artists, are you really inspired by science to create art from it?

Why Science themes?!

I asked this question some of my artist friends who are into science-art. And most of the replies I got were really disappointing. "Because it is "in". I am following the trend", was one reply. "Everybody is doing it now. So I am following my friends in the field", said another one. " Oh, I feel it is really fun!" added another artist. One artist even joked, " To help science and scientists!"

"Are those reasons enough", I asked myself, "to create art?". I have even heard and read some sort of artist feelings that gave me the impression that they are dealing with "alien field that they are not really interested in".

All these days I have been told by artists and the art world that because an artist "gets inspired by something", s/he thinks deeply about it and puts his/her thoughts into picture forms and create art. Unless you get inspiration to do a thing, you won't be able to do full justice to the subject. No wonder, these days most of what we see in science-art is artless! And if you have some art, the pictures lack real science! Doing one or two shows based on science doesn't make one a sci-artist. You got to be passionately get involved with it, make love to it to beget beautiful babies in science-art.

Different people will choose different subjects and themes to create art. It is natural for me and others who are from the field of science  to choose  themes based on the subject. I too create science based art. Write poems on science.Because I am truly inspired by science. I am passionate about it. I love science. I like the field and its culture very much. I eat science, sleep science, breathe science, think science and even paint science.  Science and scientific thinking influence pretty much everything I do. I live in science culture which forms the basis for my art. My work is based on what I strongly feel about science. The works  show how science is relevant to day to day human life and culture. My works convey messages. I want to tell the importance of science to the whole world. I want to communicate my work and that of others in my filed with the laymen in the language they can understand and try to popularize science in that manner.  I want to convey the messages science reveals to me to the whole world. I want to show the importance and beauty of science to the world around me. I want the world to feel the same way I feel about it and synchronize the music it plays to me with that of the world.  Scientists who do works based on their field are making an attempt by  themselves because they want to communicate with the world around them. It is different from the way artists can communicate science.

In case of artists  regardless of all the nice things they say about science, can they be inspired and influenced by it the way scientists who work in sci-art arena? I don't think they would be as inspired by the subject as scientists would.  The replies I got from artists tell a disappointing story. After interacting with artists, I felt they don't feel the way I do about science. No doubt, they respect the field, they are in awe of it but still the spark is missing. And in such a scenario, I don't think you would get good works from artists on science-related themes. If science is a part of human lives, it becomes a part of artists' life too. It touches their work here and there. But getting inspired by it and therefore creating work based on it is a different ball game altogether!

When I started creating science based art a few years ago, I searched internet through various search engines using the words associated with science-art but hardly found any websites that dealt with the subject. Most of the times  my website was the only thing that appeared during those searches! But now sci-art has become  ubiquitous and sci-artists are springing from every nook and corner of the world! Why this sudden interest in the subject is an intriguing  question I am searching answers for to write in my book.

Tell me honestly, artists, does science really interests you? Are you into sci-art because you feel science is important? Do you think you love science? Do you try to deeply understand science themes before you venture into sci-art projects? Please let me know.

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Why should visual artists turn their attention to science? Because of its new materials and techniques, its strange metaphors, its controversies. An examination of science forces us to view our lives from new perspectives. It provides a new sense of scale, whether the artist is beguiled by cosmological vastness or molecular detail.

- Strange and Charmed is the  book to investigate the burgeoning interest in science which is evident in the work of many contemporary artists.

A reply by an artist on other site:
Nancy Lowe • I know this may be coming from left field, but I have a different view, influenced to a certain extent by Ellen Dissanyake's "What is Art For?" (art "behaviors" evolved in humans because they connected us, making art-making clans more likely to survive and reproduce). I also note that the art of any culture and time period connects people by reinforcing the dominant view, sometimes playfully, sometimes reverently, sometimes critically.

I sense we are in a transitional time when art is gravitating toward science, not just for interesting content to play with but also because science has provided our creation stories -- big bang, early molecules of life, evolution -- and tells us who we are in nature. So I think we can look at artists not as serving the institutions of science, or the scientists, but serving this larger role of expressing and illuminating the dominant paradigms. As an artist, I am happy to "serve" science in that way, much as Michelangelo served the church, sand mandalas serve Tibetan Buddhism, Kachina dolls serve the stories of the Hopi, or the Futurists served the idea of industry. Neurologists have found that we are hard-wired for spiritual experiences -- as a non-theist, what do I do with that? I direct my awe, and my ability to evoke awe through art, to the magnificent stories of my day, those that science uncovers. I'm not suggesting this is every artist's role when they collaborate with scientists, but it's a role I seek to fill.

Interesting. I am still doing fractal art but it has evolved. I have used it as action to explore art and graphing software. I did not want my pieces to look like just another fractal a machine created so I have learned to manipulate them.

I can't say that science has been a regular theme in my art up until now. I have thought about science as part of the overall internal creative process that I use and that evolves within me, and I am fascinated by science and science related themes. I come to this and other sites for knowledge and inspiration so that I might see how other artists are working with science related themes in their work, and to take part in discussions about these subjects. It's sad to read these comments and think that artists somehow can't or won't feel the spark of being inspired to really work on science related art, beyond "being in awe" of science.

As an aside, if you think of people who work in CGI (computer generated imagery), special effects, 3D animation, etc., for many box office films by Pixar and other computer animation companies as artists, or as creatives, think of how inspired they are to create the worlds and visions they do for these 3D animated films. Not exactly fine art, but awe inspiring, for me. At one time I had hopes of working in that industry and it didn't happen for various reasons, without regrets. But think of how they must be inspired be science and work with scientists in some cases to make such visions a reality.

Back to the point. I too create mandalas, fractals, generative art produced by repetitive code based tools such as Processing or vvvv. Truly fascinating, although I'm not a programmer. But there's a lot of open source material that you can cut and paste and tweak your own variables to produce your own work. The more I read here, the more inspired I become! It's an ongoing interaction and I hope to show more in time.

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