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Symbiartic

Symbiartic


The art of science and the science of art.
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Road Kill So Perty You Can Bring It Home To Ma

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


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Most people swerve around road kill in hopes of avoiding the gore, or worse, the dreaded thwump that indicates you added your treadmarks to the list of said road kill’s insults. But a few crazy people will screech to a halt to see what got hit. Two of these folks just happen to be researchers, Ben Labay and Adam Cohen from the Texas Natural Science Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and have been known to do something even weirder: peel them off the road, slather them in ink, make an impression on paper or cloth and call it art.

The technique, known as gyotaku, originated in Japan as a way for fishermen to keep track of the size and species they caught before heading to market. But it evolved into an art form no doubt because the resulting prints are both delicate and beautiful. Labay and Cohen have simply expanded gyotaku’s traditional subjects of fish to include mammals, birds, insects, and anything they can get their hands on (road kill or not). The project is called Inked Animal. Here’s a taste:

Guadalupe Bass version 1, from the Inked Animal collection by Ben Labay and Adam Cohen

Guadalupe Bass version 1, from the Inked Animal collection by Ben Labay and Adam Cohen

Bull Shark Skull, from the Inked Animal collection by Ben Labay and Adam Cohen

Bull Shark Skull, from the Inked Animal collection by Ben Labay and Adam Cohen

American Alligator version 2, from the Inked Animal collection by Ben Labay and Adam Cohen

American Alligator version 2, from the Inked Animal collection by Ben Labay and Adam Cohen

More Inked Animal images

Inked Animal prints for sale through Art.Science.Gallery in Austin, TX

Inked Animal prints on display through the end of this weekend at Once Over Coffee Bar, Austin, TX

Inked Animal on Facebook

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Every day in the month of September, we are serving up a different science artist for your viewing pleasure. Can’t get enough? Check out what was featured on this day last year: A 3D model of an octopus by scientific illustrator Mieke Roth.

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. Jubjubjub 9:00 pm 09/14/2013

    Well, at least she spelled the name right.

    Beautiful art!

    Link to this

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