Name: Allie Ibarra
Which came first in your life, the science or the art?
I would say art. Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by color and handcrafts. The thing I most enjoyed about school was to illustrate my notebooks and work on creative projects. Then science came into my life. I loved biology and chemistry, and eventually, I did a B.S. in Biotechnology and a Master’s in Biomedical Science. I thought art and science were distinct disciplines, but I researched about science communication, and it was wonderful to discover the amazing genre of scientific illustration. I realized that I could combine these two areas and use my talents to communicate great scientific ideas and concepts in a clear and inspiring way.
Which sciences relate to your art practice?
I have a strong interest in natural sciences, especially biology, chemistry, biomedicine, and neuroscience, but also, I am very enthusiastic about astronomy and engineering. My work is inspired by the scientific things that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Our vision is limited; we require specialized equipment to know what is happening in the scientific world, whether viewed through microscopes or telescopes. I enjoy creating beautiful visuals to inspire and help people imagine how scientific concepts look.
What materials do you use to create your artworks?
I mainly use digital tools to create illustrations and designs. Depending on the project, I explore and combine different design software to improve my technical skillset, but I do like the traditional illustration. I have been practising impressionism painting since 2015. I work with oil paints, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, and graphite.
Artwork/Exhibition you are most proud of
I did some astronomy illustrations during a national astronomy contest called Messier Marathon in Mexico. It was challenging to sketch and obtain accurate drawings of different objects during the observation nights using telescopes and binoculars. I participated in the Astronomical Drawing category, and I won 1st place two years in a row! I’m also really proud of my recent work with biomedical digital illustration. I always find new tools to create better designs; I like to try new color palettes, textures, contrasts, patterns, etc.
Which scientists and/or artists inspire and/or have influenced you?
My interests and projects are varied, so I have been inspired by the people I worked with during college, my master’s, and my current job. One of the artists who really inspired me is Vincent Van Gogh. He may have become one of the most popular artists of all time, but he never saw the success of his work. The act of creating was enough for him. We often seek external validation to justify our work, but we could all learn from his experience and start drawing, sketching, or writing, really enjoying the process of creating, for creation’s sake.
“By combining scientific backgrounds and artistic skills, science visualization can be achieved and it can be adapted to specific audiences to promote effective and accurate communication.”Allie Ibarra
SciArt is an emerging term related to combining art and science. How would you define it?
SciArt is creating engaging visuals in multiple fields of science to communicate great ideas and scientific content in a clear and inspiring way. By combining scientific backgrounds and artistic skills, science visualization can be achieved, and it can be adapted to specific audiences to promote effective and accurate communication.
For more by Allie Ibarra, visit her LinkedIn.
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