Pushing the envelope in science AND art

“Thinking outside the box” has become a bit of a cliché. But in science it is more important than ever. As the base of human knowledge propels ahead with lightning speed, it takes a special set of skills and knowledge to be on the cutting edge of innovation.

When I was in graduate school, there was a relatively popular depiction of the concept of a Ph.D. You can find the full schematic at “The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D.”  Briefly, if you imagine the whole pool of human knowledge as a large circle, in elementary school you start out by learning a small subset located at the center. Each step of the educational process, from high school to college and graduate degrees, brings you closer and closer to the outer limits. But with each level of higher education, you also limit your field and specialize. Finally, in graduate school, you push at the boundary and make a tiny, microscopic dent – and that dent is called a Ph.D. While its size and impact, relative to the large picture, may seem laughably minuscule, the key lies in the fact that it managed to break through the limits of the “box” (or circle in this case).

Because of this, science cannot be pursued with a cookie cutter approach. It needs to be innovative, revolutionizing and pushing the limits to achieve real breakthroughs.

This is why I decided to make my art three-dimensional.

Confocal microscopy in particular has been near an dear to my heart throughout my graduate and postdoctoral training. The basic concept of confocal microscopy is focused on imaging a very thin optical slice of the sample. Despite focusing on a very thin section, neuronal images can present incredibly complex cellular morphology (shape), which when combined with multicolor imaging, clearly calls for artistic rendering of the image.

So to think “outside the box” (and the microscope) I decided to recreate these images as 3-dimentional structures. No matter how advanced the imaging gets, even a scientist has never seen these images in 3D (aside from computational rendering).

So I would like my art to make people wonder what they actually look like on the inside. And how all of this wonderful brain architecture makes us who we are.

Art is my emotional outlet and my oasis.  I use art to express my feelings and work through life issues.  Come join me on this journey of letting go of control and letting the creative process take over.  You will get access to all of the behind the scenes footage and see the major breakthroughs that translate into new artwork.

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