Nanolipogel Art: Winner of AOI Illustration Awards 2013 Research & Knowledge

Nanolipogel's attacking cancer, by N.R.Fuller for the National Science Foundation

Nanolipogel’s attacking cancer, by N.R.Fuller for the National Science Foundation, recently won it’s category in the AOI illustration awards.

I’m pleased–and surprised and humbled–to announce that my artwork created for Dr. Tarek Fahmy’s laboratory and the National Science Foundation won in the Research & Knowledge category of the 2013 AOI illustration awards. www.aoiimages.com

From the AOI:

Visual showcase for recently published research to evoke interest from the non-science public and describe how nanotechnology might help combat cancer.

Judges Comments: From a very diverse and impressive range of work in this category this image impressed us because it combined accurate, compelling and significant scientific data with a strong aesthetic appeal. It is a medical illustration that remains accessible to a popular audience. The colour palette works well and it has drama. We liked that it had visual and cultural references from other fields such as 1950’s sci fi movies which provide a richness and humour alongside the hard science.

One of three of my pieces shortlisted, (see AOI shortlist post or the AOI shortlist) the judges picked the most technical, information dense piece of the triad. You can read more about the nanolipogel science in NSF’s pres release here, and some of the funny places the illustration ended up being used here.

I don’t have all the information yet, but it sounds like I’ll be traveling to England’s Somerset House this October for the awards ceremony. Oy ve, I guess I’ll need to figure out what to do with the then-8-month baby… bring him with, leave him with bottles, big sister and Dad…. hmmm… I have time to worry about that later :-).AIO_Logo_small2

Science Art Gets Some Love: AOI Shortlisted Illustrations

3 science illustrations in the AOI competition

Three illustrations by N.R.Fuller of Sayo-Art shortlisted in the AOI images competition.

Us science artists don’t get no respect… at least that’s what I thought until now. When I heard that the AOI (Association of Illustrators) added a Research & Knowledge category to their prestigious, international ‘Images’ competition, I was stoked to have a chance. Beyond the respect for my professional niche, I’m excited to share that my work has been recognized on their shortlist.

The AOI Research & Knowledge Communication category is pretty broad, and described by the AOI below:

Research & Knowledge Communication–Illustration commissioned for the purpose of undertaking research and communicating knowledge. Illustration that is used as a research or investigative tool and that represents, explains or seeks to understand information or data…

Cancer Research Art

Artwork recently shortlisted in the AOI Images competition,  created for the AACR‘s annual meeting. ©2012 AACR / Nicolle R. Fuller

Different illustrations have different purposes, and even within the genre of science illustration there is a wide range of styles and applications. I jive on trying to create illustrations that help someone new to the subject imagine what it might be like to really see the things beyond our vision–teeny-tiny cells to exploding universes–while still staying true to the scientists’ research. Unfortunately, that often means my work just doesn’t fit into most of the big name illustration competitions.

Most of the broader competitions–like Communication Arts or 3×3’s–don’t explicitly exclude science art with categories like “books, editorial, for sale…”, but if you take a look at the previous winners from the past few years it’s clear the likelihood of recognition in their comp is slim to none for an artist like me. Can’t science art compete in the general categories? Sure, some can… but on the whole the goal of communicating science is so different from other editorial art, that it’s just a different beast and can’t be compared easily. To stay accurate and true to scientists’ work while pulling in the ambivalent viewer, a certain level of visual clarity and realism is often needed; leading to style choices diverging from many of the more mainstream popular illustrators.

Science illustration man coughing

If you do have a chance to check out the work in the Research category, you’ll see there is quite a bit of variety in the pieces, from 2 beautiful botanical pieces to some innovative videos. The 3 pieces I submitted include:

  • A piece created for the American Association for Cancer Research’s Annual Meeting branding, meant to honor both the researchers and patients working toward a cure,
  • Artwork for Science News magazine on the science of a cough, using extreme exaggerated perspective of the tracheae to show the cilia on the cells that are irritated by foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria,
  • And finally, an illustration for Dr. Tarek Fahmy at Yale University, released by Yale and the National Science Foundation as a press release to explain the lab’s exciting research on nanolipogels that release drugs to combat cancer and other diseases. (see blog post: Nanolipogels Huffington Post…)

Out of the 10 total professional pieces that were shortlisted for the “Research & Knowledge” category, 1 winner will be chosen. Clearly, I’m pretty excited that my work has been recognized, but moreover, I’m grateful that the AOI has opened up their competition to the international community, and decided it’s time to recognize the art in visual information communication.

Welcome to Sayo Studios

Welcome to Sayo Studios, the blog of Nicolle Rager Fuller, the artist behind Sayo-Art. The aim of Sayo Studios  is to provide you with the latest updates on the newest artwork from Nicolle, along with news updates, behind-the-scenes features, advice for young artists, and opinion and analysis on the latest developments in the worlds of art and science.

As an introductory post we have included some examples of the different kind of work that Sayo-Art produces. From taking you down into the world of molecular cancer research to helping you imagine the end of the world scenario known as the “big rip,” Sayo-Art presents you with new ways of seeing and imagining the world. Sayo-Art makes old ideas new and exciting and gives you the ability to understand complex ideas and theories that you could only read about before.

In order to view the rest of each gallery, merely click on an image, and you will be transported to Sayo-Art’s portfolio website and the accompanying images. Included in each image is a brief description of the kind of work that can be found within each gallery. To view more of Nicolle’s work you can check out her portfolio and you can purchase prints and posters at her store. For any questions or comments, Nicolle can be reached via email at: info@sayo-art.com.
Prehistoric Creatures: Dinosaurs, from the plesiosaur to the Majungatholus atopus, shown in their natural habitats. Here, an unlucky dinosaur looks on while an enormous asteroid hurtles towards earth’s surface.
Sayo Studios: An Unlucky Dinosaur Waits for Asteroid ImpactUnique Digital Landscapes: Stretching from the distant past to the theoretical future, this gallery serves up various imaginings of conceptual landscapes. Images include an illustration of a world connected through smart-grid technology and another illustration that depicts the crashing of an asteroid which led to the formation of a crater within the Chesapeake Bay.
Sayo-Studios: A Blue Globe Representing Smart-Grid Technology

© Nicolle Rager Fuller

Wonders of Space & Cosmology: These images take complex, theoretical astrophysicsand makes them tangible through art. Ideas like string theory and the creation of the universe are illustrated in this gallery. Below, an example of what the end-of-world scenario known as the “big rip” might look like.

Sayo Studios: One End-Time Scenario: The Big Rip

© Nicolle Rager Fuller

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A selection from the over 1,000 original drawings in the graphic adaptation of Charles Darwin’s on the Origin of Species, published by Rodale. Illustrated by Nicolle Rager Fuller and written by Michael Keller. Nominated for 2 Eisner awards. The book can be purchased from Amazon here.

Sayo-Studios: Cover, Darwin's On the Origin of Species

© Nicolle Rager Fuller

Advances in Cancer Research: Sayo-Art provided all of the illustrations for the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011, which depicted the newest advances in cancer research. This gallery depicts the various ways Sayo-Art takes complex molecular-level science and makes it easy to understand.

Sayo Studios: Cancer Treatment Drug Design

© Nicolle Rager Fuller