I live in both science and art.
Some would say that these 2 disciplines are different in methods, traditions, and audiences. Art is associated with emotions, while science has to raise the analytic question of 'what” and “how'. In truth, art and science are more closely related than most think. Both science and art attempt to understand and describe the world around us, and share that understanding with others. Artists are using science as a means to express their vision, while scientists use coherent numbers, lines, shapes, and models and other data to explain the world. Together, art and science help us study, explore, and interpret the world around us.
I started my science encounters through small coincidences that occur to everyone while growing up. I had an early interest in biology, and my family encouraged my curiosity with a microscope kit. The microscope had a low-grade projector and even at low magnification, I could see many strange little things with each slide. I did not know then what I was looking at or what their names were, but I was amazed at the projected images. It was during college when my scientific and artistic passion came together, I was illustrating human anatomy, learning plant systems, performing dissections, and understanding those little things I previously observed under the microscope.
It’s natural to have interests in artistic and scientific pursuits. In science, the little things are usually the coolest. Plenty of scientific researches are conducted on things that are invisible to the naked eye like cells, atoms, and DNA. In art, we find beauty, inspiration, and influence even in small things. When you work in both fields, it’s clear to see the impact one has on the other. Understanding art and being able to communicate science effectively is a really good way to get people to understand. At BAFI, we regularly collaborate with resident scientists and artists to find creative ways to convey ideas and make scientific information, exhibitions, posters, and programs more appealing to the senses.
From my own work, my favorite has to be the science-inspired Christmas decorations for BGC. One of which was 2014’s Christmas exhibition, themed “Larger than Life Christmas Ornaments”, this shows “little” things taking on special shapes to celebrate Christmas. The design inspiration was diatoms, microscopic, one-celled algae that come in a variety of beautiful shapes and sizes. They are described as "jewels of the sea" and "living opals". Google them and prepare to be mesmerized!
This Holiday, interactions and small physical expressions that we have taken for granted come into clear focus because of the pandemic. Human connections like hugging a person, laughing openly with friends, and gathering your loved ones—activities that we still cannot do, are the small things that really matter. Maybe this Christmas, it’s about realizing that these small things have the biggest impact.