In June, 2012 I had the opportunity to visit the concentration camps of Aushwitz and Birkenau. This was, by far, one of the most powerful experiences in my life. I was leading a travel course, so I didn’t have a lot of time to take photos, but I think I managed to capture some decent images. At the end of the slide show I included some images from the Jewish Museum in Berlin. The building designed by Daniel Libeskind is fascinating. You can read more about it here.
My mission as an artist is to create works that inspire thoughtfulness and a sense of wonder.
I have spent most of my life training and working as a scientist. Science can be a powerful agent of change, but after many years I began to feel frustrated with the pace of my work.
Although I specialized in amphibian diversity, I have been fascinated by the biology of human sexual development and variation throughout my career. When I began investigating this subject in more detail, I was deeply moved by the personal stories I read of people struggling to be accepted by a social system that failed to recognize the true nature of human variation. I decided that I had to do something about this situation, and my transition from scientist to artist began in earnest.
I have always been interested in photography and art, and in graduate school I learned scientific illustration, a useful skill in my field. My frustration with basic science research, together with a growing need to do something about a social issue, led me to explore ways to integrate my interests in science, photography, illustration, and art. A defining moment came when my nephew, and good friend, Rob Meinhardt suggested I might have a future in photography. Thanks Rob!
Soon I came across a quote by photographer Lewis Wickes Hine, who said, “There are two things I wanted to do. I wanted to show the things that had to be corrected. I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated.” These ideas have guided my work ever since.
I recently began an exciting and very rewarding collaboration with textiles artist Alison Gates. Our first work involves combining my scientific illustrations with dyed baby clothes. Our first series of pieces have been shown at galleries in Madison and Stevens Point WI, and are currently showing at The Art Garage in Green Bay, along with a selection of my photographs.
Thanks for reading! Please check my blog regularly for more details about my ongoing projects.