Introducing...Michelle Hunter and Exploring Neuroscience Through Art
Michelle Hunter is an artist that loves science. Her paintings and drawings focus on how different areas of our brain are activated through those various activities, and how our brains react to emotional stimuli. Her illustrations explore the brain’s relationship with memory, caffeine, sleep, music, and more. Each time she finishes a piece of art, she writes a blog post to share her creative process and the related research for that piece. Exploring Neuroscience Through Art is her blog; and it explores how we experience the world physically and emotionally through the brain. Research for her Brain Series blog posts is rooted in a variety of scientific resources. Reference sources include scientific articles about the brain related to specific activities, such as what happens in the brain while we listen to music or are in deep sleep.
Ms. Michelle Hunter earned her Master's of Science from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, and her B.S. from New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business. She has been drawing or painting nearly all of her life, and thus decided to turn her passion into her career. In 2010, she began wondering why people seemed comfortable thinking in the past or future, but not the present. This spurred her ongoing Brain Series -- art depicting the brain.
In her own words:
Well, did you know that the occipital lobe, temporal lobe, frontal lobe, angular supramarginal gyrus areas of your brain are activated right now as you read this? Those are the areas of your brain which are activated when engaged in the activity of reading. My series of artworks on how the brain works, is meant to bring more awareness to the organ we use the most but don't usually "think" about.
The compositions for my artwork are both scientific and conceptual. In the brain and alcohol painting “First Aid”, the scene takes place at a bar with patrons in the shadows. In the foreground, the viewer looks at his/her own shot glass. On the shot glass is an etched outline of the brain. The parts of the brain most influenced by alcohol are highlighted as the bartender pours the viewer's liquor of choice into the glass. The viewer now has the aid he/she felt they needed to join the crowd in the background.
Links to some of her engaging material:
She loves showing the mental and physical process of her work. For each blog posts from an artpiece, she describes how she got to the composition, what's happening in the painting regarding the brain and includes photos of the artwork in progress.
For the painting “Zzzzzzz (Sleep)”, I wanted to show what inner parts of the brain were most active while we are asleep. The outer part of the brain was painted to be translucent so the highlighted areas within could be seen. Those highlighted areas include: hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, thalamus, pineal gland, hypothalamus and brainstem.
You can connect with Ms. Hunter and follow her art in a variety of ways:
Facebook Fanpage: Hunter Art
Connect with her and be sure to leave a comment at one of her blog posts. There’s no better way to engage and encourage a new blogger than joining the conversation. Tell her you found her via The Urban Scientist (me, @DNLee5) and #ScholarSunday.
I hope you’re enjoying this series of blog posts. If so, then I’d love to shine the spotlight on additional science blogs and scientists and help spread the word of amazing science outreach. If you know of a great science blog and/or science blogger who you think is amazing and would like to help spread the word about how amazing they are then please submit them. Now accepting recommendations for upcoming Outreach Scientist and Science Communicator Spotlight for upcoming weeks.