Artist = Scientist

Nov 10, 2014 / Photography / how to be creative

Three images from A Million Suns will be exhibited during the Atomic STEaM Photography show at The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, New Mexico from November 8, 2014 to January 8, 2015. “STEaM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

While this theme was open to interpretation, I hesitated submitting to this juried competition about science and mathematics. How does art really relate to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? One could say of course that there is a great deal of connection. The photography medium would not exist without the experimentation of many many people in the 19th century. We don’t even have to mention another tie-in: digital photography. It is clear that photography is intertwined with science and technology.

Recently, I came across another connection between art and science. In Andrew Simonet’s free ebook entitled Making Your Life as an Artist, he argues that artists = scientists. Both groups perform research, but each group focuses on different things.

Simonet explains:

The scientific method works on material questions. The artistic process works on questions of culture, questions of thought. And today, especially in the äóìdeveloped world,äóù many of our toughest problems are questions of thought and culture. Artists are the only people who contribute new knowledge to the cultural realm. Others can refine, popularize, or synthesize our research, but we discover new cultural information.
That is a sacred responsibility.

We live in a time when we are inundated by images: pictures, language, videos, stories, music, bodies. 99% of those images are made for one reason: to get you to buy something. We artists are responsible for that tiny sliver of images that can be made for every other possible reason: cultural, spiritual, political, emotional.

In an age of image overload, this is a sacred responsibility.

Simonet 24-25

As an accountant, I’m constantly trying to justify to myself what is the point of making art. What is its utility, purpose, cost/benefit ratio, or rate of return? Many artists and philosophers have written about these questions. Novelist James Joyce and Art Philosopher Suzanne Langer come to mind for example. Everyone has their theories. This particular reason as written by Simonet is very simple and intriguing. Artists are like scientists. I really like that idea.

Works Cited

Simonet, Andrew. Making Your Life as An Artist. Manitoba: Artists U, 2014. pdf file

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About the Author

Jonah Calinawan

Hello! I’m Jonah Calinawan, an accountant turned artist.

I create cyanotype art that makes you think and write about the creative mindset to help and inspire you.

When not shooting photos, I teach myself piano and recommend pianist Josh Wright’s Propractice tutorials (affiliate link).

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