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Hand drawn ink on paper (archival art marker and pigmented felt tip).  5 x 8 inches.    Giclee reproductions are available (click here)



Marker on paper with ink (hand drawn)

Colonization was an experiment with using an uncolored marker “blender” to force soft colors to bleed into each other in geometric patterns.

The patterns of circles and rings are reminiscent of petri dishes and microbial growth experiments gone a bit amok. It was inspired by my first laboratory job, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, when I was  high School senior.  Our group was sequencing some of the viral plasmids and vectors that are now widely used in Biotechnology and genetic engineering.

Much of Microbiology involves using the growth properties of microorganisms to amplify something happening on the molecular level.  For example, small somewhat randomized changes are made to a plasmid’s genes.  The plasmids are then inserted into a population of host bacteria, at a dilution that ensures that multiple insertions are rare.  The bacteria are diluted so that each one is far apart in solution. When they’re dropped onto a petri dish, each individual bacterium is a few mm to a few cm away from the next.  Each separated bacterium grows mitotically into colonies of millions of bacteria, identical to the original bacterium that started the colony.  Each colony can be tested, selected, and grown further.

Equal growth in all directions on flat, fairly uniform Agar medium creates circular colony patterns.  If there are liquid resources diffusing through the medium (in a natural environment rather than a dish) then rings will form as resources are periodically depleted by too fast colony growth.

The microbe growth pattern idea is emphasized with a counterpoint of fine line drawings echoing the larger softer marker patterns.

The original was created using Prismacolor art marker and Pigma “micron” pigment ink ultrafine felt tip pen on acid free paper.



Colonization, 7×10 inches, ink on paper

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