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New Art Movement? The Science Artists Feed Keeps Growing

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Ammonite Flax Flower © Glendon Mellow. Under CCL.

Most people are aware that there are trends and movements in the Fine Art world, just as there are in design, fashion, music and architecture. The most powerful aesthetic movements with the most lasting impact in the last several centuries have had distinguishing attributes that crossed the boundaries of the various arts and permeated cultures. The utilitarian geometry of Bauhaus. The almost sloppy excess of Baroque mixed media.

Last year, when the huge science-blogging network site launched, aggregating recent posts from a wide array of science sites, one of its organizers, Bora Zivkovic (now our blog editor at Scientific American) asked if there were enough science-art and scientific illustration blogs to warrant making a feed for the page.  I assured him there was, and at his request began curating the Science Artists Feed, including scientific illustration, science-inspired fine art, data visualization, webcomics and cartoons, street art and more.

You can see the initial list of blog urls here. It has expanded enough I have had to create a second list that feeds into the first one.

Science communication is not a one-way street between researchers & journalists to the lay public. From the Science Art Feed you can see the array of conversations non-scientists are starting through visual media. There’s a response, an echo and an amplification to the impact the scientific method has had on culture. Researchers, too, are stepping in and showing the inspiring, baffling and illuminating images they come across and use. Does it mean there is a new aesthetic, a new movement afoot?  Will there be leaders, schools, manifestos, turning points? I don’t know for sure, but as someone interested in exploring science in artwork, I feel I’ve seen a rise the past 10 years, and this is coupled with it being easier than ever to find.

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If you are using Google Reader or a similar service and wish to see all of the entries (usually about 5-10 a day) you can subscribe here .
If you’d like your blog or gallery with an RSS feed added to the Science Artists Feed, let me know and I’ll check it out. If your blog is on the Science Artists Feed (or even if it isn’t) and you’d like to add this widget, simply copy & paste the html at the bottom of this post.

The Science Artists Feed:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”;num=10″></script><noscript><a href=””><img alt=”View my FriendFeed” style=”border:0;” src=”;num=10&amp;format=png”/></a></noscript>

Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite and is on Instagram. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Tommy L 10:02 pm 01/12/2012

    It seems that the science art movement is mainly being driven by
    artists who are inspired by science and scientists who are artistically-inclined – scientists who are more inclined to “have fun” and see the artistic side of their work.

    As you pointed out, there are many beautiful imageries in science, and they are often produced during the course of conducting an experiment or as a way of presenting the result of said experiment. An arresting image can often help explain the result of a scientific study better, and thus there’s an growing appreciation for good aesthetics in scientific papers.

    While those kind of visual art can be considered as “by-products” of the scientific method, on the other hand, there are certain fields of science where artistic visualisation is integral to the science itself – such as in taxonomic descriptions. This is most prominent in the field of palaeontology, where there are constant debates/discussions about how to present the reconstruction of extinct organisms.

    Perhaps we will see the next coming movement in presenting science with more aesthetic and artwork which are increasingly inspired/informed by science?

    There is a false dichotomy between art and science which is slowly being eroded away over they years. I think what artists and scientists should both realise is that they share more overlaps than they might realise. Both endeavours involve the creative process which operates in a similar manner even if they work towards different ends. Both art and science are susceptible to fashion and trends. And early career scientists and artist also face similar challenges in terms of trying to stand out amidst a sea of competition populated by many very passionate and talented individuals.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Glendon Mellow 8:39 pm 01/14/2012

    You raise some excellent points Tommy.

    If science-art is being generated and viewed by artists and scientists, how do we take a next step? How does science-art bring what some call STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) to more people on the outside?

    Link to this

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