The Creative Process in an Artist at Sea Experience

[This blog was first published in teh Schmidt Ocean Institute’s webpage: here]

I am interested in how creativity emerges, how ideas are formed in unexpected ways in both art and science. I can imagine that for every Artist-at-Sea and for every researcher that has been part of an oceanographic cruise on the Falkor, there have been a variety of very specific circumstances that inspired and triggered their work, making advancements in their research. Generalizations are probably hard to make. However, I feel confident about making one: that it is very unlikely that an artist or a scientist has come through this experience unchanged or uninspired. Creativity implies an ability to perceive the world in innovative ways, to make connections between things you have not paid attention to before, to see problems with fresh ideas and openness.

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Illustration versus Photography in Science

I often get asked, specially by students, “why do we need to draw when we can take photographs?”, “isn’t scientific illustration old-school?”. To answer this I always start by clarifying one issue: I am all for technology, new media, learning new techniques and enjoying the many advantages that we have in the XXI century, from smartphone, to GPS, to confocal microscopy. In my view, we are not replacing one tool by the other, but we are expanding the array of tools and possibilities to do what we want to do: visually record or communicate something in science.

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Science, Art & Biodiversity — Ciencia, Arte y Biodiversidad

Welcome to my site! My name is Fernanda Oyarzun; I am a biologist, scientific illustrator and sculptor. For me art and science are two ways in which I try to understand and make sense of the world, of the organisms that intrigue me, of that which amazes me, and of that which I want to better comprehend. Frequently, the images of the things that I observe through the microscope or of the animals that I see in the intertidal stay with me for days, and those images inspire my drawings and sculptures. Other times, the need to communicate or to teach, pushes me to develop visual material to complement an explanation of a process, structure or species.
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