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Symbiartic

Symbiartic


The art of science and the science of art.
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You Had Me At Hydrothermal Vent Worms

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


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There’s an interesting show going on currently in Denver, CO’s Anthology Fine Art Gallery that’s worth a special trip if you’re into sciart. Patrick Maxcy is a painter, illustrator, and muralist who is fascinated by the natural world. His exhibit, titled Running Wild, showcases his back-to-the-basics drawing chops and his flair for telling compelling stories. His drawings are worth the trip alone for any appreciator of art, but if you’re a fellow science geek, he will win you over instantly with his depictions of hairy yeti crabs, giant tube worms, and his liberal use of cephalopods…

The Gathering by Patrick Maxcy

The Gathering by Patrick Maxcy

The Quest by Patrick Maxcy

The Quest by Patrick Maxcy

Maxcy was at the opening of Anthology’s show earlier this month and I had the opportunity to throw a few questions his way. If you can’t make the show, he assures me he’ll be updating his website with his most recent work shortly. I’ll post a link here when he does, hairy yetis and all.

KM: You mentioned you like following the discoveries of new species, etc. What’s your fascination with animals, particularly new species? Why are they good subjects for your work?

PM: I grew up in Florida spending a lot of time outdoors. This helped my obsession with all creatures. With animals there is such a mass variation in species one could never capture all of them in a lifetime. So the creative possibilities are endless. By adding newly discovered species into the mix it teaches and shows people that our own planet is still full of wonder and hasn’t been completely uncovered. The birth and loss of animals plays a big part in the story of my work – mainly dealing with how humans and animals coexist. The underlying tones are usually pretty serious and make one think about themselves and our planet, but I try to subtly share the story though intriguing fragile beauty. In the end you still want the work to hang on a wall and capture someone’s imagination.

Side note: Within most of my work are numbers. Some are apparent and some are hidden. I’ve always had a difficult time in life with math so I find using numbers in my work ironic. But the numbers are direct calculations regarding the painting itself: how many times per minute a screech owl flaps its wings, how hot hydrothermal vents can get near a hairy yeti crab, the number of stars within our galaxy, etc. They are reminders to me when I share the story that numbers & facts play an important role in nature itself.

Universe in Us by Patrick Maxcy

Universe in Us by Patrick Maxcy


KM: I’m curious about the portraits in your show. Are these friends of yours? How did you come up with the concept of overlaying ocean dwellers on them? Likewise, I’m highly amused by the octopuses on the water towers. What was the thinking there?

PM: The portraits are something new I have started. I haven’t just drawn in a long time so I wanted to try and pick it up again. The people represent weathered sea captains. Usually bearded, aged, & tired looking. I wanted to draw in sea creatures that are slowly dying off and endangered due to shark finning & commercial fishing. The idea was to capture a person in their personal own life vs their job. It’s a fine balance.

Persevere/Fred by Patrick Maxcy

Persevere/Fred by Patrick Maxcy

Persevere/Ryan by Patrick Maxcy

Persevere/Ryan by Patrick Maxcy

The octopus and water towers came about as I was driving from South Florida to Denver, CO. I mainly drove through small towns and back roads avoiding all highways. I took dozens of photos of worn down & dilapidated buildings and water towers. I thought about how polluted our ocean, river, & lake water is and how ironic it would be to see ocean dwellers traveling miles across the land to reach cleaner water, eventually seeking out and finding our water sources. I had to paint it.

KM: You do murals as well. Any particularly fun project you’ve worked on?
PM: I love painting murals. Breaking out of the studio, traveling, & painting fast on a large scale is a lot of work but the end result is fun. I started painting murals about 14 years ago. I usually paint them live for big events & expos. I also travel with a few non profits that I believe in & support, mainly traveling to low income impoverish areas and creating vibrant pieces on buildings. It brings a town together with bright smiles as they watch. I also love getting the local kids involved as well on little sections of the murals. I have painted several large murals in Nicaragua, Uganda, New York, Colorado, Florida, South Dakota, etc.

Mural by Patrick Maxcy

Moving On Mural - A mural by Patrick Maxcy with Light Gives Heat to raise money for the women of Uganda, Africa

In addition to the paintings and drawings for sale, Anthology Fine Art Gallery is offering several prints of Maxcy’s work for $20-$30 through the end of the show. Contact them directly for details.

EXHIBIT INFO:

Running Wild
at Anthology Fine Art Gallery
Denver, Colorado
through July 13, 2013

MAXCY LINKS:

website

facebook

twitter

instagram

Kalliopi Monoyios About the Author: Kalliopi Monoyios is an independent science illustrator. She has illustrated several popular science books including Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within, and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Find her at www.kalliopimonoyios.com. 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. Emily D 11:50 am 06/28/2013

    You had me at “liberal use of cephalopods…”

    Link to this

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