We live in a large, wonderful, and complicated world and it is my hope to explore and understand as much of it as possible — no matter if whats explored is gigantic or microscopic. I am currently training as a graduate student in neuroscience at Florida State University, however I have been creating art since long before the start of my scientific career. It's my hope that my art instills in the viewer the same type of wonder I feel when studying the realities of nature through science (in particular neuroscience). The brain is a structure of amazing complexity and beauty. Our brain is made up of an estimated 100 billion neurons (not to mention all the other cells like glia). Every thought, memory, and emotion is the result of an amazing orchestration of activity propagating through those billions of neurons. In order to understand the grand complexities of our universe, such as our brain, we have to focus on the individual units (the cells) before we can understand how they work to form a greater whole.

The cell was discovered in 1665, however it wasn't until 1839 that cell theory stated that all living organisms are made up of individual units. This truth has been at odds with our sense of identity ever since. We think of ourselves as a cohesive whole; however, our body is made of individual cells that function both independently and as a group. Of course, for those cells to stay alive they depend on an extremely complicated series of interactions with the many cells around them. Despite cell theory stating that all living things consisted of individual units, it wasn't until 1888 that people accepted this truth with regards to the brain when the great neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal showed that the brain along with the rest of the body was in fact made up individual cells.

It might seem a bit crazy that it took humanity this long to reach this truth, but that truth is completely crazy in its own right. No single cell knows of its own existence and yet together the cells in our brains and the cells our hand work together to create art, music, and new bodies of knowledge.
The line work of my art is based off of human anatomy (both current and historical understandings of the human body). Depending on the viewers distance from the pieces, the curved lines or "cells" either coalesce into the greater shape or remain visually distinct (similar to the cells that make us up). The colors are sampled from photographs of galaxies, stars, and nebulae. From the microscope to the telescope lies awe, beauty and terror at the tiny bits that make up ourselves and the grandness of the universe those bits inhabit. It is up to the artist as much as it is to the scientist to explore our place among this continuum. As we have explored this continuum it has only grown wider as a result of that exploration, but we have always been better for it.

The images are designed to invoke stained glass and a reverence for the interactions that make up ourselves and the universe.

When I'm not in the lab or drawing, I'm writing and performing music with the band Lonely Creatures.

Here I am looking on with amazement at some Chihuly glass in Seattle.

I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate you taking the time to look at my work.


You can contact me at: matthew@whathandsyield.com