Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Artsy Alternatives to Black Friday

Do you reeeeallly want to stand in line at Best Buy? Here are a few great alternatives that let you get your holiday shop on this weekend without waking up at dawn or fighting anyone for the last talking Olaf. Even better, all offer unique, handmade products to delight your friends and family. 

DC’s Downtown Holiday Market kicks off its 10th year, opening on Friday at noon and running daily 12-8 until December 23rd.  Located in front of the National Portrait Gallery, the market features more than 150 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses.  A rotating group of 60 exhibitors a day offers hundreds of diverse gift items, such as jewelry, pottery, paintings, and textiles.  Check the exhibitor schedule to see who will be there on the day you plan to visit. 

Glen Echo Park’s Holiday Gift Sale begins Friday at 10am in the Popcorn Gallery and The Stone Tower Gallery. The sale features work from Glen Echo’s resident artists and other invited artists (including me). Among the offerings are glass, ceramics, jewelry, scarves, ornaments, cards and more. The show runs Thursday-Sunday through December 20.  

Bazaart at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum opens Friday at 6pm for a special preview party (tickets required). The event continues Saturday from 10-5  with 50 local and regional artists (including, yes, me again) offering painting, sculpture, paper crafts, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, mixed media, and “other work that simply defies categorization.”

Brentwood Arts Exchange in the Gateway Arts Center is offering a Black Friday Sale from 10-7 with 20% off all fine art and crafts. 

The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA has a Black Friday Holiday Celebration from 10-7 featuring over 100 open artist studios, Doughnuts with Santa, fine-art projects for children while you shop, an outdoor fire pit for roasting marshmallows, holiday music and theatrical performances throughout the day. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Busy Artist is Busy

Lots of events coming up! Click the links for more information

November 15 - 19
DC Convention Center
More information on where to find the art here

November 20
All Crafts Considered, NPR Commons, DC

November 29
Bazaart at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore

December 11-14
Please note: The market runs for a month, but I am only there for these 4 days

January 3 - March 6
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Clinical Center, North Gallery 
More Information to come

Sunday, October 26, 2014

SfN 2014, Here I Come!

I’ll be showing my work at this year’s Society for Neuroscience meeting (aka SfN2014), which takes place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC from November 15-19. Around 30,000 scientists, writers, policymakers and others involved in all facets of neuroscience attend this meeting, so I’ve been painting a whole bunch of brains and neurons for them. I’ll also debut two new neuron-themed scarves there. I’m excited and nervous! It’s a lot different than any show I’ve ever done before, so I really don’t know what to expect.

If you’re attending SfN2014 and want to find me, I’ll be part of the Art of Neuroscience exhibit, located on the L Street bridge that links the two buildings of the convention center. We’re across from the SfN Information booth and near Hall D, where the special lectures are held.

If you’re not registered for the conference and still want to see me, there are two times when the exhibit is open to the public: On Saturday, November 15, from 11 am to 1 pm, Chef Bryan Voltaggio will speak about how he strives to create culinary treasures that transform how his guests think about food. That’s in Hall D, right near me, and sounds like fun! On Tuesday, November 19, from 3-5 pm, there’s a forum on science funding that is also open to the public. If you want to come to either of these events, please let me know and I can help you get a pass in advance.

All my people attending SfN2014, please spread the word that I will be there with paintings, scarves and petri dish ornaments, perfectly timed for busy scientists to buy for the holidays! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Busy Art Weekend

I’m showing at two festivals this weekend: On Saturday, I’ll be at Art on the Avenue in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. This is a big, great show with wonderful vendors and the weather promises to be gorgeous.

Then on Sunday, I’m at the McLean Project for the Arts for MPA Artfest. It’s held at a park adjacent to the MPA’s gallery space, so you can peruse work from 50 fine art and craft vendors, then head inside to see Voyage of Discovery, the climate change-themed art exhibition I created along with Jessica Beels and Ellyn Weiss.

For the rest of this week, I’m painting as hard as I can to have lots of new work to bring to these shows. Hope to see you at one of them! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Upcoming Events - Summer to Fall 2014

It's been a little quiet lately, but I'm gearing up for the next round of shows. Come say hello!

July 18-20:  Artscape, Baltimore

September 11-October 25  Voyage of Discovery reopens at the McLean Project for the Arts

September 13: Hyattsville Arts Festival, MD

September 14:  Art on Belmont, (Adams Morgan Day),  DC

September 27:  Barracks Row Fall Festival, DC

October 4: Art on the Avenue, Alexandria, VA

October 5: MPA Artfest, McLean, VA

Scientists Seek the Company of Artists

If Jane Austen blogged about science art, she would note that it is a truth universally acknowledged, that artists and scientists are rarely found in the same place. You don’t often find an artist in a lab, and you seldom see a scientist in a gallery. (Yes, yes, I know, there are exceptions! It’s not polite to interrupt Jane Austen.)
There are many reasons for this, involving various permutations of, well, let's not say pride or prejudice exactly, but perhaps a difference of sensibilities.  Now comes an opportunity to get around at least a few of these, by having artists meet scientists where they are.
Two major annual meetings of scientific organizations, The American Public Health Association and the Society for Neuroscience, have created opportunities for science artists to display and sell their work to their thousands of attendees. Rather remarkably, both take place on exactly the same dates – November 15-19, 2014.
The annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), held this year in New Orleans, attracts 12,000 attendees in a wide variety of fields related to public health. As part of a new initiative called Art @ The Expo, they are looking for 20 artists or crafters whose work is health, medicine or science related to show and vend at the meeting. The $200 booth fee for 3 days is a fraction of what APHA charges its large commercial exhibitors.  More information and guidelines for applicants are here
Do you delight in dendrites? The Art of Neuroscience, part of the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), seeks artists whose work is directly related to neuroscience. For a $300 fee, artists can show their work at the gigantic gathering of some 30,000 neuroscientists in Washington, DC. Interested artists can find more information and a prospectus here  - the deadline for applications is August 29.
It’s really encouraging to see large scientific organizations take steps to include independent artists and crafters in their events. AAAS, ACS, ASM, please take note. If, to quote Jane Austen, “one half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other,” at least some people are making an effort to provide a peek over the fence. Perhaps others may be persuaded?
(Cross-posted from The Finch & Pea

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cutting Edge: Art & Science of Climate Change at AAAS

AAAS has put together an event on the art and science of climate change on Thursday, May 1 in conjunction with the Voyage of Discovery show. You should come! Jessica, Ellyn and I will all be there. If you prefer to skip the speeches and head straight for the wine and art, you might want to come around 7:30pm. It's free but registration is required - click HERE to sign up.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What an artist's studio really tells you

My soul: Let me show you it

I read an essay online the other day, “Is an artist’s studio a window into their soul?” by Bob Duggan on BigThink, and it’s been percolating in my brain ever since. Unfortunately, probably not in the way the author intended. The piece compares the studios of NC Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth, which were preserved as museums after their deaths.  Duggan says some fairly interesting things about what you can infer about an artist’s life and practice from looking at the things he surrounded himself with.

The author also mentions visiting the preserved studios of Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock, and Francis Bacon. (I’ve been to Francis Bacon’s studio too – it’s a big ol’ mess, apparently because he wouldn't allow people to clean up his stuff.) Notice anything about those artists? Yep, famous white men.

I work in my dining room. If my dining room reveals anything about my soul, it’s probably about the constant tension of wanting to keep working on things in progress and having to clean them up. I have another friend who makes gorgeous, large, paint-on-metal pieces in her living room. Her “studio”, if anyone ever visited, would probably reveal none of that, because, as a nice middle-aged woman, she, like me, would tidy up for guests.

We would both love to have nice, airy studios to create work in ideal conditions that we could tweak to our preferences. But we live in an expensive city, so we make do. So do many, many others in vastly more difficult conditions.

Martin Ramirez made his art in an insane asylum, while very successful Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama lives in one. A number of artists, including Frank Jones, did much of their art in prison. Should we draw conclusions about their souls based on that?

I might suggest another title for Duggan’s piece:  “Is an artist’s studio a window into his privilege?”

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Voyage of Discovery has been Discovered

Well, at least a little. Some people have written some nice things about the show. Have a look:

Grist,  March 13, 2014

Inhabitat, March 10, 2014

Last Word on Nothing, March 4, 2014

BoingBoing, March 4, 2014
Art Inspired by the Melting Arctic, by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Symbiartic/Scientific American, March 4, 2014

And here's a link to video of my NAS talk on "Art and Science as Ways of Knowing"

Friday, March 7, 2014

Science Jewelry on Etsy: An Incomplete List

Somebody asked me on twitter this morning if I knew of a list of science themed jewelry shops on etsy. Since I didn't, and for the sake of procrastinating on other tasks, I decided to make one. This list is by no means complete and I invite readers to submit additions in the comments. Please note: there is a LOT of copycat jewelry on etsy, including science themed stuff. Just search for a caffeine molecule necklace if you want to see for yourself. I tried to include on this list only shops that I am fairly-to-highly certain are designing and making their own work. If I'm wrong about that, please let me know.

In no particular order:

Nervous System. Beautiful, sophisticated takes on structures from science and nature, in a variety of materials. 

Dimonus. Gorgeous and unique enamel and gem jewelry. Many of their designs are based on plant cells.

Norsola. Funky metal designs based on biology and astronomy themes, among others.

Giroofasaurus Vexed. Ceramic jewelry with biological motifs including viruses, mitosis, nudibranchs and many others. 

Elinart: Amazing embroidered jewelry and accessories featuring lichens and mold. 

Noadi. Mostly polymer clay and resin pieces, many with microbiology and marine biology themes.

Super Photon Factory. Laser cut wood jewelry including viruses, flasks and more.

NBDesigns. Precious Metal Clay jewelry in biological motifs ranging from the safe (flasks, DNA) to the adventurous (chick embryos) 

Nicholas and Felice. Silver jewelry stamped with geeky symbols from math and physics.

SurlyRamics. Surly Amy is the queen of skeptic and general science themed ceramics. 

Mars Bling. An accessory line made with images sourced from NASA missions. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

News! Show at AAAS and Talk at NAS

Two pretty big pieces of news on the science-art front: First, today is the opening day for Voyage of Discovery, a show featuring artwork by me, Ellyn Weiss and Jessica Beels at the headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Second, I’ve been invited to speak at next month’s DASER (DC Art-Science Evening Rendezvous) at the National Academy of Sciences. Whew!

First, about the show:

Voyage of Discovery

January 21 – May 31, 2014
AAAS Art Gallery
1200 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC

The artwork in Voyage of Discovery has its roots in the idea of a journey of scientific exploration, in the tradition of Darwin, Wallace, and the thousands of scientists who constantly travel the globe in search of new findings. This imaginary voyage takes viewers to a polar region where the iconic, seemingly eternal, landscape of ice and snow is in profound and rapid transition due to climate change. The pieces in this show, created by Michele Banks, Jessica Beels and Ellyn Weiss in a wide variety of media, are not strictly based on scientific data. They reflect the artists’ responses to the transformation of land and sea - the melting of glaciers and the thawing of permafrost, the movement of previously unknown species and microbes into the region, the dramatic shift of the color of the land from white to green to black. The artwork takes a broad view of these changes: the artists are deeply aware of the damage done by climate change, yet intrigued by the possibilities of what lies below the ice and snow.

The gallery is open to the public from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. A reception is being planned for later in the show’s run – more information to come.


D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER) is a monthly discussion forum on art and science projects held by the Cutural Programs department of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) in the national capital region and beyond. DASERs provide a snapshot of the cultural environment and foster interdisciplinary networking. This month, in celebration of its third anniversary, DASER explores the theme of art as a way of knowing.

Thursday, February 20, 2014, 6 p.m. (doors open at 5:30)
Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Room 100
Free and open to the public. Registration and photo ID required.

Panelists: Michele Banks, Artist, Washington, D.C. ;  Diane Burko, Artist, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Robert Root-Bernstein, Professor of Physiology and Bioartist, Michigan State University, East Lansing; Nina Samuel, Art and Science Historian and Independent Curator, New York City and Berlin, Germany

If you can't attend, a livestream is available.