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Coloring outside the lines

Award-winning visualization artist tells her story in the Science Node

Award-winning artist Francesca Samsel tells of her journey from murals to scientific visualizations, and explains how a dash of color theory is changing scientific perspectives.

For many years I spent summers painting murals on the sides of buildings and winters researching environmental topics for upcoming work in printmaking my New York studio.

In 2010, I was working on a series of prints for an upcoming exhibit. The prints were filled with oil-like textures and fractured platform structures. Only as they began to come together did I make the connection with the ongoing 2010 Gulf Oil spill. As the oil continued to pour into the Gulf and the scope of the damage grew, it became clear that paper prints, hanging on pristine gallery walls, could never convey the angst and horror unfolding in the Gulf. Technology that allowed us to drill a 3,000 foot well a mile below the ocean surface needed a 21st century medium.

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