Nature Microbiology: When did you first become exposed to scientific images?
Michele Banks: I started doing watercolours about 15 years ago. I was mainly working in pure abstraction, just playing with colour and with the properties of the paint. One of the things I love to do is wet-in-wet technique, which gives a ‘bleeding’ effect. I showed some of my wet-in-wet work at the Children’s National Medical Center here in Washington DC about 10 years ago, and they told me they liked my work because it looked like things under a microscope.
We hope the interest in the overlap of science and art will be a theme that continues throughout future Nature Microbiology issues – also open access, gender balance in publishing, shying away from bogus impact factors. etc. etc…
For those of you who are not regular readers of Michele’s Art of Science series, what I have always found fascinating about discussing art and the process of creation with Michele, is her engagement with the current art world and the history of art, with an honesty and clarity that is quite brave – when so many artists armor themselves (like scientists) against public judgment in overly complex jargon.
I’m very excited about this opportunity and I’m asking for your help to make it happen. I just launched an Indiegogo campaign to help pay my expenses for this amazing experience.
The Ars Bioarctica Residency Program is a joint project of the Finnish Bioart Society and Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in sub-Arctic Lapland. The residency has an emphasis on the Arctic environment and art-science collaboration. I’ll have access to the station’s lab and equipment and I’ll be working side-by-side with scientists conducting research on vegetation, local fauna, and soil chemistry. Kilpisjärvi’s location near the Arctic Circle puts it on the front lines of climate change, a subject of much of my recent art.
Like most art residencies, this one is unfunded. I hope to raise enough money through Indiegogo to cover my travel and room and board and to buy some art supplies. To thank you for your support, I’ve come up with an array of amazing perks, including a scarf and print based on Reindeer Moss, a lichen native to the region.
There’s lots more information about the residency on my Indiegogo page. Please look, click, spread the word, and support sciart!
UPDATE: As of 5pm on May 14, this project is fully funded! Thank you so much for your support.