Science, technology and engineering have always been a part of art. Ancient sculptors used physics when carving their creations, while painters mixed different organic materials and chemicals to make inks and paints.
Today’s artists also use the tools available to them, pushing boundaries and technology to share their visions with the world. While each creator produces unique works, all use STEAM in the process. Check out these 20 professionals who create impressive works with technology, science, math, and engineering, a few of whom we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing for our Artists & Engineers series.
Arthur Ganson makes kinetic sculptures out of metal and other materials, while occasionally teaching a class on the mechanics of wire bending. His machines range in size and complexity, but the common thread between them all is technology. Ganson is currently working on a sculpture that follows the passage of time since the Big Bang—13.82 billion years.
Mitch Wenger is an engineer/artist and an Ozobot employee! His most recent project was to create a man-made wave that is “the perfect barrel,” and runs 1,800 feet long — twice that of a natural wave. The wave was a year-long project and debuted at a surf competition. Along with Ozobot, Wenger has worked with companies like Universal Studios Hollywood where he used problem solving and mechanical skills to maintain and retrofit rides.
Artist and engineer Bob Belt is one of ours too! Along with entering the technology field at an early age, Belt is an accomplished painter who has a passion for art and drawing. Belt always felt like he had to choose a career path: artist or engineer. Today, he explores artistic concepts in his spare time, making time to paint early in the morning, and also uses his love of art and creativity to make games and more in the Evo app.
Laetitia Sonami is a sound artist and performer. She uses technology in her art to focus on participation and presence and guide audiences on a journey through her music. Right now, she’s working with AI sensors that pick up sounds. Sonami has worked with AI before, but this was before technology made it faster and more efficient. Throughout her artistic career, technology has always been part of her creative process.
Contemporary artist Chico MacMurtrie’s projects include amorphic robot works and even a robotic church. He uses robotics and metal work to comment on society and review who we are as humans. One of his most recent works is called “Border Crosses,” which uses lightweight robotic sculptures to show how a mix of physics and creative technology could make it easy to cross over a wall.
Ivan Iler works with many mediums, but specializes in metal fabrication. In particular, he is interested in creating public art and sculptures that can outlast him and the people who currently enjoy it. One of the series of metalworks that Iler is working on is Kinetic Art, Automata and Machines, where he uses metal around machinery to create movement and life in the material. During the day, Iler works as a motorcycle engineer and fabricator in St. Johns, Michigan.
Rejane Cantoni and Leonardo Crescenti
These two artists form a partnership called Cantoni Crescenti and create visual, audio, and tactile journeys that make it easy for people to explore virtual concepts. They take technological concepts that are abstract and challenging for people to understand, and create an artistic representation to share the emotional magnitude beyond them. Both Cantoni and Crescenti are based in São Paulo, Brazil. You can see on their website how their work plays off of the sun, water, soil, mirrors, tunnels, and floors.
Rosa Menkman believes there is beauty and insight in the world of technical glitches, compressions, feedback, and other forms of noise. She calls these concepts “noise artifacts,” and uses them to develop her art. Her website immediately overwhelms the eyes and her art shows technological glitches that are often covered up and hidden. Developers strive to create tools that never fail and are perfect — Menkman highlights the reality and finds beauty in mistakes rarely shown.
Since 2008, Spidertag has worked as a street artist who uses geometry and minimalism in both city streets and rural spaces. Most recently, he has worked with light cables to create his art. The result is neon-glowing art that immediately attracts attention and curious eyes. He uses his art to challenge how we look at a space and what we see in open voids.
Philipp Frank is a graffiti artist who uses his art to create captivating outdoor exhibits that play with light, color, and angles. Audiences experiencing Frank’s art need to view the work from multiple angles at multiple places in time, as they will see something else and feel something new each time. Frank uses digital and analog materials, creating “videomurals” which combine his paintings with video artwork.
When he was young, Chris Landreth was found to have mixed brain dominance, meaning both the creative and technical sides of his brain are equally strong. He used the technical side of his brain to earn a Master’s degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois, and his knowledge of computer development to create art through animation. He loves telling stories with new technology and has developed a course on facial animation which he teaches across the country.
Rogan Brown uses paper to play on themes related to nature and organic growth. His creations are incredibly detailed and seemingly complex.
“By mixing science and art, observation and imagination, I hope to find a bridge between the two, mimicking the breathtaking detail and complexity that exists at every level of scale in nature,” he writes.
Brown’s pieces often take several months to create, with hundreds of sheets of paper and precision cuts made with a scalpel knife.
Jen Stark’s website is full of technicolor images twisting and turning in geometric shapes. She creates 3D sculptures with explosions of color, and the energy from her creations seems to be endless and sometimes unable to contain itself. Stark also creates 2D images and animations, constantly playing with geometry and its relation to color. Her pieces are visual systems that simulate plant growth, fractals, topographies, and other STEAM concepts.
Susan Aldworth is a London-based artist known for her printmaking techniques and approach to abstract thought. She has a philosophy degree from Nottingham University and uses concepts related to humanity and the mind in her art. One of her recent pieces explores the experience of sleep, as humans move from “consciousness to oblivion” each night.
Currently working in Berlin, Germany, Marco Donnarumma works with biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and other modern concepts to explore the human body. In particular he focuses on sound, which he uses to entertain and awe audiences. His work reflects how we approach our bodies, interact with them, and base our identity around them. He lectures around the world, giving workshops such as AI Ethics & Prosthetics, in which he examines the enormous potential of AI to change the human bodily experience.
Adam Ferriss is an illustrator and developer in Los Angeles. He creates art using code and his artwork has surprising levels of depth and multiple layers. Some of his clients include The New York Times, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and Google. You can review his art to see how he tackles the political climate with digital visual cues.
Julian Voss-Andreae started out as a painter, and also studied physics, mathematics, and philosophy. He even went on to pursue graduate research in quantum physics and today channels his love of science through art. His is best known for his sculpture “Quantum Man II” which is made of steel that seems to disappear when viewed from different angles. His work can also be found at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and Portland Community College.
The works of Fabian Oefner are immediately striking. He plays with various materials to create visual expressions of natural sciences and abstract concepts.
According to his biography, Oefner’s “art forms encourage us to conceptualize in new ways, and to accept that art and science do not exist on opposite ends of the academic spectrum but rather inform each other in tangible ways.”
From black and white to stunning contrasting colors, Oefner adds visual representation and emotion to scientific concepts.
Klari Reis is a mixed media artist known for her work in Petri dishes. Her goal is to explore the line between technological and natural, using various pigments and textures to capture concepts in the discs she works with. Reis collaborates with local biomedical companies in San Francisco and uses their research and ideas to inspire her artwork. Her petri dishes are created with different artistic materials, that all interact with each other in different ways.
Sculptor Mark Brazier-Jones creates functional art including chairs, light fixtures, and tables. However, these pieces likely aren’t anything you have ever seen before. His work can be found in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Brazier-Jones creates art to explore what humans find appealing and what makes them desire an object, idea, or person.
Featured image: Arthur Ganson, Machine with 11 Scraps of Paper. Image credit: Copyright 2016. Chehalis Hegner. All rights reserved.
Other images: Ozobot, janifest/©123RF Stock Photo, qimono, Free-Photos