Monday 30 January 2012

ScienceOnline2012 Photos

This week I'll be continuing to write about ScienceOnline2012, both here and on Symbiartic.  

You can see a few posts already:

Later in the week I'll be posting about how the sessions went, the art & photo walk, and the impact I think having a bunch of artists in attendance had on a science and science communication unconference. 

For now, some fun photos. 

This year I decided to pack as light as possible for ScienceOnline2012, my fourth time attending. Instead of a regular camera, I brought my iPhone 4. 

Here's a few photos from some of the new friends and familiar faces I met on the trip.  I wasn't nearly thorough enough documenting the experience, and regret missing photos of a ton of people. Like Anton Zuiker for being amazing and helpful; Lisa Grossman for being roomies; Greg Laden for being great dinner company; Brian Malow and Kaitlyn Thaney for letting me prattle on at breakfast about the history of paint pigments; Brian Switek, Karen James, Andy Farke, Southern Fried Scientist and Bluegrass Bluecrab, Lyndell Bade, Kevin Zelnio, Miriam Goldstein, Doc Freeride, Blake Stacey, Scicurious and a whole bunch of others I'll regret forgetting to mention as soon as I hit publish, are all great friends and fascinating people. Thankfully, people like Russ CreechJason Goldman and Maggie Pingolt were doing a better job than I documenting. 

Okay. Buncha photos. 

Fanboy moment for me: with Maggie Koerth-Baker of Boing Boing, left, and Annalee Newitx of, right.
Both of these two have shouted out and shared my work this past year on their popular sites (here and here) and so a bit of their tres coolness has rubbed off on me. 
Michele Banks, aka Artologica and me mugging for the camera.

John Dupuis, the local science blogger I think I see more of when we're both in North Carolina,
with Bora Zivkovic, #scio12 organizer, the Blogfather, and Scientific American Bloggy Bossman. 
A tableau vivant of science artists in their natural habitat: the museum.
My Symbiartic co-blogger Kalliopi Monoyios, Lynn Fellman and Nathaniel Gold.
Under a whale.

Perrin Ireland, Katy Chalmers and Russ Creech, 3 more members of the massive artist cabal at this year's ScienceOnline. 
Me and one of my co-moderators, Emily Bauerfeind of the New England Aquarium
Me and co-curator of the science art show, ScienceOnline organizer and MC, Karyn Traphagen

More thoughts & photos about the unconference experience soon!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Saturday 28 January 2012

Red Knot in Flight

While I'm working on a series of scientific illustrations I can't reveal yet, I thought I'd re-post this pencil (and the oils below) of a red knot in flight.  

Originally created for biologist and conservationist Dan Rhoads' excellent and vital Migrations blog, you can read more about it at his site, and my two-part making-of, here and here

Dan fights the good fight to save birds from the heinous hunting practices of migratory birds in his adopted home of Cyprus. You can sign the petition to stop the practice here.  

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Friday 20 January 2012

Copyright, Darwin, SOPA, and ScienceOnline2012

(This post originally appeared a couple of days ago on Symbiartic.)

So I’m sitting in an airport on a long layover in the middle of the night, excited to be heading to ScienceOnline 2012 for my 4th time. CNN is on repeat, talking about the SOPA protest blackouts by Wikipedia and others. I’ve for science-based imagery on my mind.

Like many science bloggers, I enjoy a good dressing-down of superstition and religion in the face of facts and reason now and again. On the plane, I was thinking about how the simple symbols can sometimes be the most powerful. I’m not a graphic designer, my work is too messy and complex, but I appreciate powerful designs when I see them.

In my portrait of Charles Darwin. “Darwin Took Steps”, I included the little tree of speciation Darwin had sketched and famously written, “I think.”

It’s an incredibly descriptive little diagram. It’s possible to imagine other ways to depict evolution by natural selection: a wildfire, spiral river-eddies, interlocking Venn circles, perhaps.

But Charles made an awkward, halting little tree that still describes his theory well even after the discovery of DNA and cataloguing the genome.

I was thinking: what if some skeptic, atheist group really promoted it, really rattled religious cages successfully and it became an important, loud rallying symbol? In the news, punk kids wearing it on their knapsacks. Talking head on CNN dismissing stunts an graffiti without understanding it.

Would that be what Charles Darwin would have wanted for his little sketch? By all accounts he tried to avoid needless controversy while preserving the idea. (It could be easily argued that better science ed is a necessary controversy.)

Charles Darwin drew that little tree, but due to copyright laws, there’s no claim he can posthumously make for it. Or his estate. So it could be used by a noisy group he would have disavowed for their tactics and there’s nothing anyone could say about it. Because copyright eventually expires, and the most impact-full images are remembered and echo through culture. The echo might get distorted but we still hear/see it.

Da Vinci, in his attempts at joining noble society would no doubt have lost his temper when Dadaist Marcel Duchamp drew a moustache on a print of the Mona Lisa. But even before copyright laws, our society understand that sometimes preserving images from the past means re-imagining them.

This is why, even as an artist and content-creator, I oppose SOPA. Eventually, all artists have to let their creations live in the world. Punishing the unfettered creativity of the Internet and sometimes, even the artist’s own fans is just fighting against the life-cycle of an image. Creators *do* have the right to nurse their creations along.

Let them go. At your own speed, of course, make your career, control your creations, steer them to the right clients and in service of the right causes and genres.

But one day, they’re going to go off on their own.


iPhone sketches - ScienceOnline2012 Nature Art Walk

A couple of sketches I did today on my iPhone at the botanical gardens here in Raleigh.

Japanese Myrtle - done with ArtRage for iPhone.

Dark Pond - done with Sketchbook Pro Mobile on iPhone.

Relaxing day talking with Jason Goldman, Perrin Ireland, Kapi Monoyios and many others.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Science Art Show starts today!

This show couldn't have come about without the hard work of Karyn Traphagen and the support of Rob R Dunn's Your Wild Life Lab and all the amazing submissions we received.

More about the show and #scio12 in coming days!  Keep watching my Twitter feed.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Print Shop

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Blackout - No SOPA No PIPA No RWA

I am a content creator and I vehemently oppose these proposed laws.

Saturday 14 January 2012

Teetering and Tottering Toward Epic Awesomeness

Busy, busy, crash.

2012 started off with a computer suffering from so many problems I'm exhausted enough to skip completely over what exactly happened, except to say a hearty thank you to my good friend Rudi for getting things humming again.

Means I'm in catch-up mode, teetering and tottering between equally important projects with looming deadlines and images I can't show you until I'm done, thus the repeat of our man Trilobite Boy up there.

So what am I working on?

-Mainly, being a stay-at home dad, for realz. Our son just turned 1 shortly after Krismas.  He's practicing walking, talking is ever more specific and complicated, and he's really really adept at saying, "No, Dada" in a world-weary way that lets others know how much he puts up with.  He's amazing every single day, and my wife is the main reason.

-I do so freelance social media promotion for a big Canadian retailer when he naps.  Was doing some from my iPhone during the crashed computer days.

-For Symbiartic, the art+science blog on Scientific American, there are a ton of half-complete interviews and posts and feelers sent out. Lots to come there, some artists and discussions I've wanted to have since before launch. There's no shortage of material to cover, and I'm hoping to get some more, shorter, "gee whiz looks at this image" posts up to go along with the usual discussions that get started. I'm lucky to be writing alongside my co-blogger Kalliopi Monoyios, mainly because her posts continue to surprise me. The whole network at Scientific American is pretty amazing, and I have a ton of new-favourite bloggers now, not least of which is Alex Wild's Compound Eye.

-ScienceOnline2012 is coming up fast, and I'll be involved in 2 discussions and I'm co-curating the science-art show. More on that over the next few days in some new posts. (Yes we've decided what we be in the show! Everyone should receive emails by Monday morning.)

-In addition, I'm plugging away having a merry time working on my first actual scientific illustration (not surreal, no arthropod-human hybrids or winged sealife).  Can't wait to share.

So what's on the launchpad for The Flying Trilobite?

-March 2012 will be The Flying Trilobite's 5th blogiversary online, and I plan to mark it with a Bold! New! Direction! for Trilobite Boy and some regularity to the artwork that fizzled out with my short-lived webcomic last year.  I made some progress over the non-computer days on that front, and I'm excited about where's it's going to go. Should I reveal it?

Spoiler-->  The plan is one comic book cover a month, painted, showing Trilobite Boy's  adventures.  Or at least teasing at them. And there will be some *ahem* hidden things. Can't say any more than that.

-Hopefully I'll be able to do another contest for the 5th Blogiversary celebrations as well.

-I'm also planning on more tutorials using oil paint and ArtRage in the coming months, to share how I do what I do.

-Sales in my online store were up a bit in 2011 from 2010, and I'm hoping to get them up higher with some of the projects I have planned this year. Calendars collections still available, and you can choose the start month!

Thanks to everyone who visited and commented on The Flying Trilobite last year - I'm hoping 2012 will be full of epic awesomeness and world trilobite domination.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Glendon Mellow. All rights reserved. See Creative Commons Licence above in the sidebar for details.
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