Art and Science

Art and Science

A lot of people ask me why I make art about science. The answer is both simple to answer and complex at the same time.

The simple answer: Science is inspiring and art is my way of paying homage. Plus, making art helps me to understanding the sometimes difficult concepts inherent in the sciences.

It’s my way of studying.


I enjoy the process that goes into the search for new ideas.

I enjoy the process that goes into understanding the lessons from the past.

I enjoy discovering what is under the next rock and what that rock is made of and how that rock got there.

I am inspired by the world around me and by the worlds around this world and so on.

I like facts.

I enjoy new ideas.

I champion thoughts and actions that have the potential to move our society forward, towards a more educated and enlightened future.

I think discovery is cool.

I am a fan of the technologies that make our lives better and lead to future technologies.

I enjoy the creative process and particularly the trial and error of the thought processes that go into developing a new hypothesis.

I like the mistakes that happen that lead us down unexpected pathways of the mind.

I am fond of the hard work that goes into successes of intellectual pursuits.

I like understanding why things and ideas are sometimes incorrect.

I prefer knowing to believing.

I am fond of the self-correcting nature of the scientific method.

I am proud of a knowledge that builds upon itself.

I look forward to the future while graciously accepting the lessons of the past.

I find joy in the quantum and exuberance in the huge.

I hold onto a sense of awe in the face of the new.

I am inspired by understanding.

I want to learn more.

I utilize the concepts and messages from scientific inquiry in my art because science in an unending flow of new information that is at once noble in its pursuits and humble in its origins. What could be more inspiring than everything that is, and is yet to be? The least I can do is to try and highlight tiny aspects of this ever expanding body of knowledge in hopes that I can encourage more people to learn and to understand.

Many of us have heard the saying, “God is the details.” I would argue that it is actually science that is in the details.

This will be the beginning of a series of posts where I plan to show you what I am up to in my art studio and what has inspired me. Hopefully, some of my enthusiasm for the process will rub off on you and encourage you to learn something new or to make some art of your own!

This initial post was brought to you by the scientific method and that is also what I painted today.

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and kicks ass on a daily basis. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

13 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your reasoning for the intersection of science and art in your work. My art aptitude maxes out at drawing stick figures so I will stick to science. Keep kicking ass at both.

  2. Yes, yes, yes and yes.

  3. Fantastic, Amy!

  4. “Many of us have heard the saying, “God is the details.” I would argue that it is actually science that is in the details.”

    I thought it was “the devil is in the details.”

    “What could be more inspiring than everything that is, and is yet to be?”

    Nothing that I can think of . . .

  5. I thought it was “the devil is in the details.”

    Both sayings are common.

    If you’re trying to justify why it’s taking you so long to finish something, it’s God.

    If you’re trying to explain why your project failed spectacularly (despite all the time you took in preparation), it’s the devil.

  6. I always interpreted “God is in the details” as meaning, the beauty is in the details. Take time to strive for perfection in your work and pay attention and care for the details that are sometimes overlooked.

  7. I interpret “the devil is in the details” as being when you get screwed by not reading the fine print. ;)

  8. Amy, you and the MadArtLab crew have already inspired me. Last week I dusted off (literally) my digital studio and put down a couple of tracks. I’d given up writing songs for several reasons, one of which was that I couldn’t seem to write one with a positive message. If you need a song about the despair, desperation and drudgery of life I’m your man; I can whip one of those out in an evening. Growing up being convinced that you’re going to be nuked before you’re 30 will do that to a person I guess. :) But here’s the thing: I don’t feel that way about life anymore.

    This here blog has made me realize that there’s a wealth of positive artistic subjects to be had from skepticism and science. The other reasons I gave up songwriting might still bring this project to a standstill but for the moment I’m really inspired.

    [OT] And speaking of inspiration: the pieces* you did for me arrived a few days ago. I’m wearing the bracelet as I type this and my wife loved her gift. I’ll be leaving a positive Etsy rating later.

    *The “Question Everything” bracelet and the bike/gifts/balloons pendant.

  9. Awwwwwww. Thank you for that comment. You have no idea how much it means to me.

  10. *standing ovation for Amy and coelecanth*

  11. Absolutely inspiring. Can’t wait for the rest of the series.

    Keep kicking ass, Amy.

  12. Amy, I’m bookmarking this post. It’s something important. Thank you so much.

    Coelecanth, rock on!

  13. [Fires up amp]
    “Thump! Hissssss…..”
    [Dons guitar]
    [Plugs into amp]
    “Bzzit.”
    [Turns volume pot to 3.1415927]*
    [Strides to mic]
    [Goes to put his foot up on the monitor, realizes he sold his wedges years ago.]
    [Puts foot on dead laptop and empty Thomas the Tank Engine railway set box]
    [Slams out E power cord]
    “Bwannng!”
    “Damn.”
    [Stomps distortion pedal and tries again]
    “Phrrworrr…squeeeeeee…”
    “Thank you INTERNET!”**
    [Throws sign of the Right Hand Rule high and proud]***
    [Has brief moment of embarrassment]
    [Shrugs]
    [Walks back to amp, turns it off]
    “Thump”
    [Racks guitar and goes to do the dishes rubbing a sore right shoulder]
    [Runs back into room and turns volume down to a level that won't scare the cattle]
    [Leaves again]

    *Seriously. My amp was made in an age when most venues only had a PA for the vocals. 3 is loud enough to sterilize small mammals and more than loud enough for this old fart.

    **By which I mean the kind folks here.

    ***http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleming’s_left-hand_rule_for_motors

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