Words by Lula Criado (Twitter @Lula_ClotMag)
Twin degrees in Molecular Biology and Fine Art make the work of Cambridge-based artist Zachary Beer creative and innovative. His paintings, full of beautiful structures and solid colors are explorations into the processes of Molecular Biology. He translates the internal view of a meteorite and biological structures like homebox domains and metabolic pathways into color.
“Scintillation”, his most recent work, shows the views within a piece of a meteorite amplified with a digital microscope. The paintings translate into art the idea of the transition of the amino acids stored within the meteorite into flora.
What do you see as the ultimate discovery in the human history?
The discovery of a large molecule called ATPsynthase – a rotating structure found in the cells of all species. The molecule puts together the universal energy carrier ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATPsynthase is basically a small motor powered by hydrogen ions – a profoundly beautiful structure.
Do you find creativity where there was once insanity?
Insanity to me is the repetition of incoherent patterns, in my experience the coherence of mind found through painting makes for a much more contiguous and peaceful world view.
If you would have to give up one of your five senses, which one would it be and why?
Not being able to taste – you could eat any order of things (for example lychees and eggs) and still be full! But research appears to show that smell informs much of what we taste so it could get complicated!
Empathy and apathy… Would you be able to work with someone like yourself?
It seems that taking offence is the most creative thing many people do with their day – I try to take less offence and understand more – but maybe if I worked with myself I might take offence at everything I do – that could lead to some serious introspection!
How do you cope with creative desperation?
Creative desperation comes often from the feeling that all things must happen in a single moment of time – when a sane and hopefully achievable sense of sequence through time appears the desperation seems to evaporate.
And one for the ride, when do you decide that enough is enough?
When I paint I strangely feel almost a point when the brush snaps off the canvas – and give or take a few extra marks that will be that.