Mad Art Lab is a group blog about the intersection of art, science and geek culture. All Mad Art Lab contributors are artists or creative adjacent representing a wide variety of mediums and occupations such as, web-comics, music, writing, sculpting, crafting, engineering, costuming, coding, publishing, cooking, science, education and performance art.
Amy Davis Roth a.k.a. Surly Amy is the fearless leader and managing editor of this team of super-intelligent and highly creative artists poised to take over the universe. They keep talking about the world but Amy has bigger plans. Amy is a multi-media artist who practices art everyday. She is the creator and maker of Surly-Ramics. She also writes for Skepchick.org and is co-host of Mad Art Cast. Follow her on twitter @SurlyAmy or support her work on Patreon!
Anne Sauer is a humanist with a passion for science, good food and spirits, and feminism. When she isn’t cooking new things, she is pursuing her MBA in Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School and helping to empower social entrepreneurs through her consulting work. If you like pictures of homemade food and fluffy kitties, you should follow her on Twitter @aynsavoy. If you insist on buying her a drink, she’ll take a Perfect Rye Manhattan, please and thank you.
Ryan is an engineering graduate student living in Waterloo, Ontario. When not destroying things for science, he is a sculptor, armor smith, art teacher, writer, juggler and nerd. His Mad Art Lab Superpowers include mathamancy and illusions. To him, global domination seems like rather a lot of work and he’d much rather spend the time building things and eating cake.
Raychelle is an analytical chemist in academia. She’s also an active science communicator and an over-active twitter user. To relax from a day of mad scientist duties, Raychelle enjoys sci-fi/horror movies, knitting, DIY shenanigans, and consuming books of all genres
Dale is the co-author and artist of the twice-weekly historical webcomic Frederick the Great: A Most Lamentable Comedy and was the creator of the atheist webcomic The Vocate for three glorious years. He is a regular contributor to The Freethinker, Philosophy Now, and American Atheist Magazine and blogs about humanist culture and science over at Twilight of the Nearly Everything. Squirrel Girl is his favorite Avenger. (Photo by biblenamephoto)
Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) realized her destiny to become a saxophone player after a bite from a radioactive jazz musician left her incapable of enjoying a song’s tonic note. She can often be spotted cavorting around Chicago playing saxophone with her funk band FuzZz, with the big bands Big Band Boom and The Great Postmodern Nightmare, and in the pit orchestra for various musical productions. She has appeared on WNYC’s Soundcheck, where she used the word “boss” as an adjective, unironically. She also writes for a living, but if she told you where, she’d have to kill you. In her free time, she enjoys running on the beach with her beloved husband and two dogs, all of which are imaginary. Follow her on Twitter at @smashleyhamer.
Donna is the sole proprietor of Sheer Brick Studio, an award-winning design shop in the Historic District of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She has the great fortune to work with good guys who specialize in being talented badasses. She’s a preferred vendor to her clients, Ms. Information for George Hrab and the Geologic Universe, the Diva of Design for Dark Øverlord Media, the media technician for her city’s Mounted Police, and now, a Skepchick at Mad Art Lab. Donna likes cheesecake and world domination but would much prefer a plate of ziti and a nice Sangiovese. She enjoys the occasional ribald typography joke. If the design industry tanks, Donna’s backup plan is working as a dominatrix named Madame Ligature.
Brian George is an illustrator who lives and works in the Van Beardswick neighborhood of Brooklyn. His fierce love of cheesecake is often (but not always) thwarted by his intolerance for lactose. He will draw and paint for your amusement (‘amusement’ is archaic Etruscan slang for ‘money’). Visit his portfolio at bgeorge.com and follow his tweets @brianggeorge.
Ethan Kocak is an artist and cartoonist from upstate New York best known for the webcomic Black Mudpuppy about an Aztec god trapped in the body of a salamander. Ethan has had work featured on Scientific American and WIRED’s websites. When not drawing, he’s usually tending to his cuttlefish or axolotls. Or tweeting. He tweets a lot. Follow him here. Support his art on Patreon.
Seelix, aka Emily, is a Science Communicator, Forensic Anthropologist, Costumer and QA Analyst, sometimes, but not usually, all at once. She is not actually in the business of world domination herself, but she will be designing the uniforms and hiding the bodies for our future overlords. Strengths: textile manipulation, cultural theory, mad cocktail skills, and explaining big concepts in little words. Weaknesses: Every time she hears someone misuse poisonous or venomous, she must make a 4d10 willpower check for at least 35 or she has to stop everything she’s doing and correct the offender. Weapons of choice: pedantry, sarcasm, the eye-searing purple of her Batgirl costume, too many degrees, and her top-secret Mai Tai recipe. Emily can usually be found lurking in dark corners of the internet as Seelix on Twitter, on Google+ and even occasionally at her blog This View of Life. She has a phobia of free time, so she organizes conferences, conventions and science events to take up that time. (Photo by Jamie Bernstein.)
Katie is an animator and illustrator of human innards living in Chicago. A childhood of looking at icky body slices at the Museum of Science and Industry, grossing herself out with Encyclopedia Britannica, and an unshakable jonesing to make stuff led her to this obscure profession. Her favorite color is shiny, but tarnished metal finishes come in a close second. She lives in an Victorian era horse barn off Wicker Park with two chinchillas, Joe Buck (a stud) and Ratso (who is walking here!) and cannot imagine living somewhere that doesn’t have multiple concert venues within spitting distance or one of the greatest skeptic groups in this fine country.
CharlesP is a man, or a muppet, or maybe just a “Standard Nerd”. He may not be great at anything, but he’s mediocre at a spectacular number of activities: the day job of software engineer, playing guitar, writing fiction, building websites, photography, baking giant cakes, making the puppets, performing the puppets, being a dad and husband. You can usually find him on the twitter (@cpillsbury or @puppetaweek), or building and performing for Death By Puppets, when he’s not wasting time on tumblr, or working.
Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and public transit and still does not own a smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don’t like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around.
A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a multimedia publishing company she co-founded with hard science fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She’s a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn’t like chocolate all that much.
(Photo by Amy Davis Roth.)
Courtney Caldwell is an intersectional Buddhist feminist. When she isn’t bragging about the latest record she found in the $1 vinyl bin, she’s probably clogging your social media with pictures of her chihuahua. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can follow @ccaldwell314 on Twitter and Instagram.
Celia Yost is an illustrator who has done a little of everything at this point, from community newspaper covers to book illustrations to home
decor design. Her non-commercial work can be viewed at http://celiadrawing.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on twitter @mocknot. She has a BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art, a love of drawing monsters, and a large collection of art supplies.
A survivor of two philosophy degrees, Jim Tigwell spends his days solving interesting problems in software. By night he can be found at poetry slams and whatever art opening has the strangest cheese selection. Host of the biweekly Concept Crucible podcast and occasional blogger, Jim is also a juggler, musician, magician, and maker of digital things. You can find his music and videos at Woot Suit Riot, a channel that doubles as a home for wayward and timid creators. Observe his antics there, or heckle directly on Twitter @ConceptCrucible. If the software and internet game doesn’t pan out, he’s determined to be a great Canadian vampire hunter.
A microbiologist by trade, Chris’s first love is nature. Where many artists create he prefers to discover what the natural world provides, taking pictures of things often overlooked. Chris holds a special place for fungi and things most people find “icky”, and he will always stop to lay I’m the dirt to photograph them.
Robin Lawson is a 4th generation mechanical engineer and co-founder of Lumen Electronic Jewelry, which blurs the line between science and art. Popular wisdom says “never work with family”, but Robin and Marty have never been ones to follow the crowd. She enjoys corrupting minors for science through S.T.E.M. outreach and dancing Salsa or Argentine Tango like no one is watching.
Julie Mars studied art and graduated with a BFA majoring in sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. She was especially fond of working in the foundry and metal shops where she nerded out over patinas. Over the years she worked for several art galleries and a small architecture and design museum before co-founding an art consulting firm that serves the Chicago area. On the side, she’s developed a series of large-scale beaded glassware that is inspired by her love of science and the beauty of the universe. She enjoys beading to science podcasts, documentaries, and audiobooks. If she’s not out showing art or making something she’s probably out on a day-long bike ride enjoying nature…or reading about what’s going on in the art, science, and space worlds on Twitter @msjuliemars.
Cloe Ashton is an illustrator who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. She is an advocate of open source software and copy left. Her art often centers around geek culture, natural sciences, intersectional feminism and bike culture.
Dan has a PhD in historical musicology and has taught music history and theory at a major Canadian university. He mainly studies music from the Italian Renaissance when he’s not busy performing stand-up comedy or playing JRPGs with his cat, Roy. He occasionally tweets as @incontrariomotu and blogs about geeky stuff at The Otaku Skeptic. He is also the glorious editor-in-chief of School of Doubt.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles is an award-winning scientist who has made a career of her twin passions for bioluminescence (think glow worms and fireflies) and infectious diseases. In a nutshell, Siouxsie and her team at the University of Auckland in New Zealand make nasty bacteria glow in the dark to understand how superbugs make us sick and to find new medicines. Siouxsie also has a keen interest in demystifying science for the public; she is a keen blogger, podcaster, artist, curator and media science commentator and has won a hat trick of prizes for her efforts, including the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize and the Royal Society of New Zealand Callaghan Medal.