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When Art and Science Collide

abstract art by marina chisty
One second by Marina Chisty

Throughout my education I was led to believe that artists and scientists were akin to oil and water. Only later in life, along my creative journey, did I realize how complementary the fields could be. I noticed the similarities in the creative thinking, the type of long-term progression, commitment and mindset that was required in each field to go every day to a laboratory or studio and painstakingly work towards and dedicate yourself to an area of interest.


Artists and scientists are people that are curious about the world around them with some common traits. They’re often meticulous, obsessive, observant and notice minute details. They pick away at problems, explore scenarios, observe nuances and find a spark in life that keeps them engaged in their work. Both artists and scientists build upon what is already known whilst viewing these ideas from a new perspective, a different angle to make novel connections. Their journey is marked by many trials and errors, detours and dead-ends in the pursuit of progress.

The Scientific Method

When you look at the scientific method it is very similar to what happens in an artist’s studio:


  1. Question something that you observe 

  2. Research by gathering information about what is already known about the topic

  3. Construct a hypothesis

  4. Experiment to test hypothesis 

  5. Analyze the data from the experiment and your process

  6. Draw a conclusion

  7. Share the results via a peer review, a system of critique, exhibit your work

Then you go back into your lab or studio and go through the cycle again.


In many schools in the US and Europe STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) is now more formally recognized as being a beneficial collaborative exercise for students. This type of education focuses on interdisciplinary learning. It combines technical application with communication, creativity, flexibility, skill sharing and abstract thinking.

Collaborations Between Art and Science

Although STEAM may be a relatively new approach in our modern curriculum, historically collaborative methods bridging art and science have been used for a very long time.

Leonardo da Vinci

Image: Royal Library, Windsor Castle
Image: Royal Library, Windsor Castle


When thinking about historical success stories of art and science collaborations, the most immediate name that comes to mind is Leonardo Da Vinci.


Throughout his life Leonardo constantly made observations of the world around him and maintained daily notes and drawings that fused art and science. It is estimated that he created around 13,000 pages of studies that covered a wide range of interests: people, the human anatomy, animals, machines, movements, inventions, dissections, plants, rock formations, water cycles and natural phenomena.


First Steps 1963, by Mitchell Jamieson
First Steps 1963, by Mitchell Jamieson


Art has often been used to visualize scientific theories that are abstract and complex. NASA has a long history of using artists to educate different audiences about NASA and space exploration. The NASA Art Program was established in 1962 with the administrator James Webb, bringing on board artists such as Norman Rockwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Mitchell Jamieson and Robert McCall. The idea behind the program was to use art to capture the emotions and importance of NASA’s endeavors. Artists have also been used to represent collected data to make it more palatable and accessible to the general public and researchers alike.

States Of Mind

yellowbluepink, installation at the Wellcome Collection by Ann Veronica Janssens
yellowbluepink, installation at the Wellcome Collection by Ann Veronica Janssens


Human consciousness is something that we barely understand. The phenomena of the human mind are studied and explored through many different approaches: neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, religions, myths, science-fiction and art.


In 2015, yellowbluepink, an installation by the artist Ann Veronica Janssens, was exhibited in the Wellcome Collection in London. This installation was followed by an exhibition called States of Mind: Tracing the Edges of Consciousness. The body of work examined the nature of consciousness and what can happen when our conscious experience is interrupted, altered, damaged or undermined.


The installation Yellowbluepink invited visitors to explore a gallery filled with mist, colored with artificial light. People described feeling disorientated, a heightened sense of wonder, confusion and a distortion of space and time.

Art for Science

My creative pursuit into the area of art and science has been to forge an alliance with the organization Art for Science, a collective of artists who collaborate with neuroscientists to study the benefits of art on the human brain, especially within the context of therapy and healing. This is a really exciting endeavor for me as I am specifically interested in exploring the ideas and theories around consciousness, transformation, energy and the power of the mind.


I will have more to share about this project in 2024!

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04 de fev.
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Helpful piece!

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