SciArt Magazine - All Issues - Page 19

Universe Baby Picture – Planck #1 (2013). 24” x 36.” Archival giclée print on Hahnemühle museum etching paper. Image courtesy of the artist. AT: When telling that story, you said that physics wasn’t giving you the answers you were looking for. What were you, or are you, looking for? JF: What are the questions, in other words. I guess the questions are more metaphysical ones. What does it mean to be alive? What is our purpose? What can we express or share about the fundamental questions of how we live as human beings? To me those are humanist questions, and the questions of the Grand Unified Theory and the ultimate structure of matter are fascinating ones, but I felt like I personally didn’t want to spend my life working exclusively on them. AT: When you first became an artist, did you imagine that you would end up painting about science? JF: No, I didn’t. I started out as an abstract painter. At the start, it really felt like I had to choose one path. Clearly science was only viable if I were willing to devote myself to it completely, and art seemed to be indifferent to science, so there didn’t seem to be a possibility of reconciling those two worlds—C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures” idea. I threw myself into art with all my energies, but I think as an artist, you have to make work that’s authentic to you and comes from your way of seeing the world. Clearly science shapes the way that I see the SciArt in America December 2013 world, and that viewpoint is something that I came to see as relatively unusual in the art world. My engagement with these projects of big science is a particular thing that I have to offer, and it just came to be clear that was what my work should be about. My interests as a painter seemed to