Introducing the NEW Art + Science Series!

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Greetings biocreativity readers! As many of you know, the biocreativity blog started as a way for me to explore the interrelationship between the arts and biology. I heard from so many artists looking for a place to exhibit their biology-inspired artwork, that the blog eventually inspired me to found a brick-and-mortar art gallery to exhibit science-inspired art. Well, Art.Science.Gallery. has started the new year in a new gallery space at Canopy in east Austin, and I couldn’t be more excited about our exhibitions for 2014! I invite you to come and visit whenever you’re in Austin: 916 Springdale Rd, Building 2, #102, Austin, TX 78702. You can also follow the gallery on Facebook and Twitter (@artscigallery). I’m so happy to report that Art.Science.Gallery. exhibited the work of nearly 200 science-inspired artists in 2013 (check out our past exhibitions here), and we’ve got an exciting schedule of nine science-inspired exhibitions lined up for 2014 (including two open call exhibitions)!

So what has become of the biocreativity blog? Since I’m a biologist by training, the biocreativity blog has thus far featured biology-inspired art. Now that Art.Science.Gallery. is up and running, I’ll be featuring art inspired by all of the natural sciences. I’m happy to announce that the ECO Art + Science Series is being reborn to be more inclusive of other scientific disciplines, as the Art + Science Series. I’ll be featuring interviews with artists that we’re exhibiting at Art.Science.Gallery.! And, as always, I enjoy learning of new artists who are merging art and the natural sciences, so keep me informed in the comments and stay tuned for our first Art + Science Series feature on Katey Berry Furgason’s Portraits of the Microscopic paintings and Collaborations with Insects, Weather, Time, Wood + Root sculptures coming up very soon!

Join Our Evolution at Art.Science.Gallery. !

Dear biocreativity readers,

I just wanted to let you know that biocreativity’s partner gallery – Art.Science.Gallery. in Austin, TX – has just launched an exciting crowdfunding campaign on to help us evolve from being a pop-up gallery to a brick-and-mortar gallery! As you probably know, Art.Science.Gallery. is the direct descendent of the biocreativity blog. I decided to open an art gallery that exclusively features science-related art after meeting many of our talented Eco Art + Science Series artists and seeing the amazing work they create! There are a whole lot of science artists out there who need more places to show their work, and thus Art.Science.Gallery. was born! Art is also a great way to get people of all backgrounds interested in the sciences, and we hope our gallery will help increase science literacy by exhibiting science art and by hosting workshops for scientists in science communication and fun art-sci classes for everyone!

Making art-science trading cards at Art.Science.Gallery.'s Join Our Evolution Kick-Off Party + Art-Sci Jam at Strange Brew Lounge Side in Austin, TX.

Making art-science trading cards at Art.Science.Gallery.’s Join Our Evolution Kick-Off Party + Art-Sci Jam at Strange Brew Lounge Side in Austin, TX.

In the past year we’ve hosted more than a half dozen exhibitions and events around Texas in collaboration with universities, museums, scientific organizations, non-profits and even churches,  and we’re on to the next step in our evolution: our own brick-and-mortar space that will allow us to expand our programs.

I invite you all to Join Our Evolution and help our gallery evolve into a community space that promotes art-science fusion of all kinds! A contribution at any level will get your name incorporated into a unique work of science-art that will be on permanent display in our gallery space (+ your name on our website). Other thank-you packages start at only $10! Even if you can’t contribute financially, please help us get the word out by sharing our campaign with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, or by making a comment on our campaign site:! We promise to get back to creating great biocreative posts when we’re settled into our new space – and thank you so much for your readership and support of this blog for the past couple of years! You’re fantastic!

Join Our Evolution at Art.Science.Gallery.! from h. gillespie on Vimeo.

best of biocreativity 2011

Happy New Year! I’m so thankful to have been able to start this blog in back in June 2011 and just wanted to take a look back over the past six months of posts to see what your favorites have been. Here they are, the top 10 posts on the biocreativity blog in 2011:

10. ECO Art + Science: Sculpture of Ecologist Gary Grossman

9. ECO Art + Science: Printmaker Lisa Studier

8. Endangered Species Condoms

7. snake week art!

6. ECO Art + Science: Photography of Plant Ecologist Kurt Reinhart

5. ants in my pants | title image august 2011

4. ECO Art + Science: Illustrator + Wildlife Biologist Kevina Vulinec

3. biocreativity at esa 2011

2. the art of fire

1. ECO Art + Science: Scientific Illustrator Emily M. Eng

Numbers 1 and 2 were separated by only seven hits, making them nearly a tie, but Emily’s post came out on top. Stay tuned for more musings about art, biology, creativity, science, design and nature in 2012 and thanks for reading!

ECO Art + Science: Sculpture of Ecologist Gary Grossman

When I posted about the biocreativity blog on the Ecological Society of America’s listserv Ecolog back in July, I got a lot of replies from biocreative people who are doing some really great work at the intersection of art + biology. I’m happy to say a short series of featured artists from my Ecolog interactions are finally making their way onto the biocreativity blog! I hope this series will serve to illustrate the many ways in which artists and scientists are using their talents in the modern world, to provide inspiration to any of you readers who are considering picking up the biocreative torch and to give artist-scientists (both experienced and new) a platform to showcase their work.

The first featured artist-scientist is aquatic ecologist and sculptor Gary Grossman, professor of animal ecology at the University of Georgia. Gary and I ‘sat down’ for an e-interview this week to discuss his work, his inspirations and his advice for new biocreatives.

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[biocreativity] Hi Gary, welcome to the biocreativity blog! Tell me about the type of work do you do.

[GG] I am an aquatic ecologist who works on problems of community organization, population regulation and resource use (i.e. habitat and dietary selection). Artistically, I am a stone carver who works primarily in harder stones like marble and limestone but also in softer stones such as alabaster and steatite. I love learning new things and I love teaching students that are interested in learning. Several years ago I developed a Natural History of Georgia course that is a large lecture course for non-science majors. I have had more fun teaching that course than any other course in my 30 years of teaching. Introducing students to science and making it fun is a great experience.

[biocreativity] Where do you see yourself on the biocreativity spectrum?

[GG] My primary training is in science and I did not start making art till my late 40’s. Since then I’ve decided that this whole left-brain right-brain classification scheme is not really helpful and may inhibit people from trying activities on the other side of the spectrum.

[biocreativity] Well said, I quite agree! That leads in to my next question, which is how do you view the interaction of the arts and sciences?

[GG] Conceptually, art and scientific research have an identical goal, which is to see the world in a completely new way. Before I started carving I wrote poetry for about 10 years and there were very strong similarities between a great poem and a great scientific paper – both succeed by reducing complicated topics to easily understandable prose that has high impact. The same is true for my sculpture which is cubist abstract in form. I seek to reduce a form to the minimum necessary for visual recognition while retaining a visually and tactilely pleasing form.

[biocreativity] What you said about your sculpture reminds me a lot of Charley Harper, who was known for having said of his bird art, “I count the wings, not the feathers.” What inspired you to begin your work in sculpture?

[GG] After many years of wanting to do art but thinking that I had no talent, my wife bought me a book on soapstone carving, 20 pounds of soapstone, and a set of hand tools. I was hooked and have left a trail of dust in my wake ever since.

[biocreativity] I think a lot of people are trepidatious about getting into art for the same reason you described. What is your advice for others considering a foray into the arts?

[GG] First, don’t ever be afraid to make art and second, art is for you and for no one else.  There is no better feeling than making a piece of art and being completely satisfied with it.  It is exactly the same with writing a really good scientific paper, you read it and feel, “I am just incredibly happy that I made this.” The joy of creativity is likely the same for all creative outlets and is one of the true pleasures of life.

[biocreativity] That’s stellar advice! I’ll have to remember it next time I get a rejection notice for a scientific article! What is next for you in the art-science realm?

[GG] I’ll keep carving, there are lots of pieces that I would like to make.  I would also like to mention the therapeutic/meditative  value of sculpting.  I stopped writing poetry because it kept me “in my head” which is where I am all day for my scientific work.  For me, carving is an intuitive process that gets me out of my head completely and keeps me in a completely experiential mode.  So when I carve I free myself from all my day time stresses and worries and just work on the stone to the exclusion of everything else.  Hours can go by and I don’t even realize it.

[biocreativity] Thanks for talking with me about your work, Gary. Before we close, where can the biocreativity blog readers go to learn more about your work?

[GG] I have a web site but it’s mostly out of date. I am mainly using Facebook as a platform for my work because it has such a large audience. Readers can go to my Facebook sculpture portfolio to see some of my work or friend me on Facebook to see a greater sample. I’m the only Gary Grossman with a sculpture for a portrait photo.

Stay tuned for the next ECO Art + Science feature and if you’d like your work (or someone you know) featured here, please email and tell me about it!


Thanks to Scott Chamberlain at r-ecology for sending me this article in the Guardian about collaborations between artists and scientists. The article opens, “Science and art are often considered opposites – so what happens when top practitioners in each field collaborate?”. Well, I think you know what I’d call it. Biocreativity! The article describes four very interesting collaborations between an artists and geneticist, a poet and speech scientist, a photographer and physiologist and theater director and neuroscientist. I think what I find most interesting about the article are the comments. This is probably the most intense discussion of the intersection of arts and sciences I’ve seen in a while. Interestingly, while I (and several of the commenters) tend to see this intersection as more of a continuum, many of the commenters seem to need to classify works as one or the other: artistic or scientific, and are staunchly defending their views. What do you think?