“The Cell” Inspiration


30” x 24” acrylic and collage (copies from a 1964 Life Science book/tissue/painted papers) coated with UV protectant varnish

I bought a set of beautiful Life Science Library books (published 1964) for $20 at a thrift store in Atlanta. Although the content is dated, the writing still gives a great overview of various scientific topics. In one book titled “The Cell,” I was inspired by a small black and white photo of Dr. Jonas Salk, who invented a vaccine for polio in 1955.  The polio epidemic caused widespread fear in the U.S. in the early to mid-twentieth century, but was eventually eradicated in the U.S. in 1979. Based on photo credits at the back, I believe the original photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

I didn’t want to tear up these books, so I made a few copies of the pages describing viruses and the attacks on cells and collaged these in the background. This period was an energetic time in science—I used warm colors and loose gestural painting to add a sense of movement.