Name: Mark Nystrom
Which came first in your life, the science or the art?
Nature came first and through it connections to art and science. When I was a teenager, a mountain top view struck a strong chord with me, instilling a sense of wonder that has lasted a lifetime. Photography became a way to capture some of that wonder and a desire to preserve it led to learning about science. I didn’t start making artwork until graduate school when I was searching for a way to use art and design to foster stronger a connection between people and nature. The wind showed me a way.
Which sciences relate to your art practice?
The atmospheric sciences are most closely aligned: meteorology for my wind drawings and climate science for my personal carbon footprint projects. Computer science relates, too, with my digital wind drawings and several other projects.
What do you use to create your artworks?
I use high- and low-tech tools. For my digital wind drawings, I use weather instruments, microcontrollers, wireless radios, computers and software. With the analog wind drawings, I outfit a pen with sails and suspend it over paper.
Artwork/Exhibition you are most proud of:
The analog wind drawings generated with Process.2005.01. They’re made with my first wind drawing process and their direct connection to the wind makes them a pure expression of nature. Curiosity about the forces that made these drawings led me to develop the digital processes that followed. I’ve been working digitally for ten years now and have only just started using analog processes again. I love the technical and creative challenges that come with the digital wind drawing processes, but the analog drawings have a stronger resonance.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?
The wind is an expression of nature that is often overlooked, simplified or quickly forgotten. It is my muse, my teacher and partner. Together, we create artwork. Each of my wind drawings is an attempt to renew our connection to nature. To fully appreciate each one, it helps to understand of the drawing’s process, the story of its creation. If you do, you can become the wind, blowing in a specific place, slow (or fast), from the south (or west, or another direction), throughout a day.
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