Paint me like one of your French scientists – farewell Michele Banks

Blue and green frequently seen together, soft featheredged cats, scarves with echocardiograms – this week with artist Michele Banks has been an eye opener for the Real Scientists community.  Michele came from a management background into art, and then made forays into scientific art.  She’s now a well-established name in science-inspired art, her work gracing the covers of scientific journals, and now, novels.  On twitter this week, Michele shared some of her journey into scientific art with us, how scientific images inspire many of her current works, and the pitfalls and joys of striking out as an artist on your own.  Michele also shared “how to make a kitty microbe,” and gave us a feel for what it’s like to use watercolours, the advantages and limitations:


The Science Online community also joined in with the discussion and Michele demonstrated how one aspect of your work can help you develop others – from writing to outreach to business.  Best of all, Michele became a custom supplier of Celebratory LOLCats to Twitter and Scientists at large, from Paper Accepted Cat, to an actual LOLDingo to Grant Application Cat. So thank you, Michele, for such a unique and refreshing perspectives. It’s not often that we can bridge the gap between art and science especially fine art and science, with such knowledge and humor.  You can keep following Michele’s adventures at @artologica, read some of her articles at The Finch and Pea and buy her art at Etsy.  Thanks Michele!


You can access the Storify of Michele’s week tweeting here.


Next up: HPLC Queen, Renee Webs!

Science as Art – a week with artist Michele Banks

Dustin Welbourne, papparazzo and biogeographer to Australian fauna, has left us after a magnificent week’s tweeting about everything from snake venom, human ears and the magnificent birds and beasts that people our landscape.  This week we take a different look at science: science as art with artist Michele Banks (@artologica).



Michele comes from a totally different and intriguing background to many of our Real Scientists curators.  Training in political science at George Washington University, she followed this with an MA in Russian studies from Harvard and went off to Europe to consult with management firms during changing situation in Russia at the time.  So she got to see first hand the workings and rebirth of Russia in the post-Soviet era.

After spending several years as doing this, Michele got married, returned to her native US, had a baby, packed in the corporate life and picked up a brush.  Intrigued by watercolors, Michele used wet-in-wet techqniues t produce abstract art.  Some of her friends suggested that her work reminded them of miscroscopy images.  So, beginning in 2010, Michele began focusing her attention on scientific themes, particularly cell division and other biological processes.   She has now expanded that to include the cosmos, the human brain and the motions of the human heart – literally.


Michele opened an online shop for her artwork, which has been featured in The Scientist Online, Scientific American, Brain Pickings and BoingBoing, as well as on the covers of scientific journals, textbooks, and James Meek’s novel The Heart Broke In.  She writes a weekly feature, The Art of Science, for The Finch and Pea blog , and is an active participant in the ScienceOnline community. Michele and two other artists are currently working on an exhibit, Voyage of Discovery, which will be shown at the headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from January-April 2014. Michele goes into some beautiful detail about her art in this piece by @flyingtrilobite at Scientific American.

We’re delighted to welcome Michele to Real Scientists and look forward to her unique voice and perspectives on science and art.