The Brain


-The Brain-
-Matthew T. Ross-

The brain has a particular importance to me as I’ve spent the majority of my adult life exploring its function as a neuroscientist. It is a structure of amazing complexity and beauty. Our own brains are made up of an estimated 100 billion neurons. Every thought, memory, and emotion is the result of an amazing orchestration of activity propagating through those billions of neurons. We appear to ourselves as a cohesive whole despite the fact that we are made up of hundreds of billions of little independent pieces. This truth has been at odds with our sense of identity ever since its discovery. It was only through a change in perspective, with the invention of the microscope, that we learned the reality of our own bodies. Our brain designed the microscopes that allowed us to see the cells of ourselves. No single cell knows of its own existence and yet together the cells in our brain work together to create art, music, and new bodies of knowledge.


The Brain is a work of digital art created as part of my series exploring the cell and human anatomy. The pieces in the series are meant to change in appearance depending on the viewer's perspective. When standing away from the artwork, the "cells" of the brain blend together creating a cohesive image, but as you approach it the individual curves and circles that make up the brain become apparent. To understand anything, you must zoom in and explore the individual units that coalesce into some greater whole.

The colors of this piece are sampled from an image taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory of a solar flare. Humans are particularly dependent on sight. The sun emits photons that are reflected off the world around us, detected by our eyes and interpreted by our brains. The sun is the source of energy for most things on earth, including, ultimately our own consciousness.

Image Information:
Number of strokes: ~14,000 strokes make up the brain itself
Image Medium: Digital Vector
Image source: Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body. Plate 702. 1918
Colors sampled from: Solar Flare