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Archive for the ‘Science Superstars’ Category

I’ve always loved what is called “Outsider Art”–art created by artists who have not been educated in the field of art– for its immediacy to an emotional connection, it’s raw colors and simple forms. In the same way, I have also felt that children’s art, unschooled, is some of the best art there is. I was an (uneducated) art teacher at one point—on my shift to trying to make art become my career. I wasn’t really trying to teach the kids “how” to create art, since they instinctively know how to find a voice in art for what they want to say, but rather, introducing them to new materials to work with & maybe new ways of seeing. But I always ended up feeling like I learned so much more from them.  James Hampton, an outsider artist, was a janitor who used found bits of scraps that he found on the job, covered his creations with foil, and created pieces of homage to his religious visions. Some of his Outsider Art was later to be displayed at the Smithsonian.

We often think of the field of art as being hard to infiltrate if not having received an education in Fine Art, but Science has the same invisible borders. With a degree in Ecology/Conservation biology, I’ve worked as an environmental chemist and as a research assistant in a lizard lab. There have been few people that I have come across in my career in science who did not have some sort of education in that field. In fact, having myself made the shift from being in the science field to the art field, my own experience is that it seems more unlikely and difficult to enter the field of science as a researcher as opposed to art. So, I love when I come across people who have been successful in that shift. A local example of someone who has bridged the gap from art to science is Zach Booth Simpson. His start was in art as a video games creator and then later made the shift to science as a research fellow with the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. You can see some of his current art and science projects here at his “Experiments in Art and Science Blog: Projects of Zach Booth Simpson”.

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I’m convinced that I’m a natural gusher. When I love something, I love it whole-heartedly. Once I remember after a bike ride, arriving home with a flushed face & silly grin, and announcing to my college roommate that I was “in love”.  She knew me well enough to not be surprised to find out that I was pronouncing love for our world– I had just witnessed the most incredible sunset.

My enthusiasm is not for everyone, some people get a little frightened by such a display of emotion–so I’m always happy to find that there are other people as enthusiastic about science & nature (and art!) as me. One fellow enthusiast is Darlene Cavalier, who calls herself, in fact, the Science Cheerleader . Her approach to current science topics is both fun & informative. The Science Cheerleader was recognized in a wonderful project called the Hero Project for her contribution to society through her love & sharing of science-related topics.

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