I’ve always been curious about what makes us who we are, and how the mechanics within our bodies give rise to complicated, nuanced things, like our behaviour and thoughts. Sometime I like to think about this biological machinery as the foundation of the human condition. Many people dislike this way of thinking about ourselves – it may seem like an attempt to reduce our emotions and ideas to the activity of a bunch of cells. For me, though, I feel that we can develop a deeper appreciation of how incredibly complex and remarkable living creatures are by looking at the pieces that exist within us and exploring how they work.
Although science is synonymous with complicated, cutting-edge technology, I use drawing – a traditional, low-tech medium – as a way of exploring my creative interest in this subject. Drawing is one of the oldest means of human expression, and shares a lengthy historical relationship with the sciences, whether in the form of diagrams, blueprints, or medical illustration. The act of drawing means that you have to really look at what’s in front of you; this may sound obvious, but it’s surprising to me how often I have the sense of seeing something for the first time even when I’m drawing subjects that I thought were familiar. Taking this approach means that I can spend time examining some of our shapes and forms in detail, and see them in ways that I haven’t thought about before.