These Psychedelic Art Pieces Were Grown in Petri Dishes

Josie Lewis
Josie Lewis

Josie Lewis isn't the first person to grow art in a petri dish, but she claims to be the first to use resin to produce colorful petri dish creations reminiscent of an exploding supernova.

Based in Minnesota, Lewis tells Mental Floss that she's been using resin in her work for over a decade. Last year, she started experimenting with adding different chemicals to uncured resin. "I used all sorts of paints and inks and solvents like a science lab to see what would happen," she says. "At some point I discovered that when I used certain inks with resin in a certain sequence, strange, colorful forms and growths would develop."

After mixing the ink and resin together in a petri dish, she seals the container, flips it upside down, and leaves it to bloom over 12 hours. That means Lewis has no idea what the piece looks like until she flips it over and removes the disc from the mold the next day.

The result is a clash of irregular shapes and vibrant colors that work together as striking abstract art. Lewis says the patterns remind her of petrified wood, which is why she named the project "Petrified Rainbows," but the technicolor swirls defy definition. She also compares them to neon mushrooms, mermaid skin, and the Big Bang. "There's a beautiful biological element to them, but the colors are so vibrant and edgy they also have a futuristic, engineered feel," she says. "They could be microscopic bio-chemically enhanced nerve agents."

You can check out some examples of the art below and follow Josie Lewis on her website and Instagram page for more.

Petri dish art.

Petri dish art.

Petri dish art.

Petri dish art.

Petri dish art.

Petri dish art.

Petri dish art.

[h/t io9]

All images courtesy of Josie Lewis.

Kids Can Join Children's Book Author Mo Willems for Daily "Lunch Doodles" on YouTube

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

For children interested in taking drawing lessons, there are few better teachers than Mo Willems. The bestselling author and illustrator has been charming young readers for years with his Pigeon picture book series. Now, from the Kennedy Center, where he's currently the artist-in-residence, Willems is hosting daily "Lunch Doodles" videos that viewers can take part in wherever they are. New lessons are posted to the Kennedy Center's YouTube channel each weekday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

With the novel coronavirus outbreak closing schools across the country, many kids are now expected to continue their education from home. For the next several weeks, Willems will be sharing his time and talents with bored kids (and their overworked parents) in the form of "Lunch Doodles" episodes that last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. In the videos, Willems demonstrates drawing techniques, shares insights into his process, and encourages kids to come up with stories to go along with their creations.

"With millions of learners attempting to grow and educate themselves in new circumstances, I have decided to invite everyone into my studio once a day for the next few weeks," Willems writes for the center's blog. "Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons. We are going to doodle together and explore ways of writing and making."

If kids don't want to doodle during lunch, the videos will remain on YouTube for them to tune in at any time. The Kennedy Center is also publishing downloadable activity pages to go with each episode on its website [PDF]. For more ways to entertain children in quarantine or isolation, check out these livestreams from zoos, cultural institutions, and celebrities.

Dreaming of Your Favorite City? This Website Will Create a Personalized Haiku Poem About It for You

OpenStreetMap Haiku will capture the colorful character of your hometown in a few (possibly silly) phrases.
OpenStreetMap Haiku will capture the colorful character of your hometown in a few (possibly silly) phrases.
vladystock/iStock via Getty Images

You no longer need to spend all your free time struggling to capture the vibe of your favorite city in a few carefully chosen syllables—OpenStreetMap Haiku will do it for you.

The site, developed by Satellite Studio, uses the information from crowdsourced global map OpenStreetMap to create a haiku that describes any location in the world. According to Travel + Leisure, the poems are based on data points like supermarkets, shops, local air quality, weather, time of day, and more.

“Looking at every aspect of the surroundings of a point, we can generate a poem about any place in the world,” the developers wrote in a blog post. “The result is sometimes fun, often weird, most of the time pretty terrible. Also probably horrifying for haiku purists (sorry).”

The results are also often waggishly accurate. For example, here’s a haiku describing Washington, D.C.:

“The same pot of coffee
Fresh coffee from Starbucks
The desk clerk.”

In other words, it seems like the city runs on compulsive coffee refills and paperwork. And if you thought life in Brooklyn, New York, was a combination of alcohol-fueled outings to basement bars and traffic-filled trips into the city, this poem probably confirms your suspicions:

“Getting drunk at The Nest
Today in New York
Green. Red. Green. Red.”

The website’s creators were inspired by Naho Matsuda’s Every Thing Every Time, a 2018 art installation outside Theatre Royal in Newcastle, England, that used data points to generate an ever-changing poem about the city.

Wondering what OpenStreetMap Haiku has to say about your hometown? Explore the map here.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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