Welcome to Exploring the Invisible. I’m a scientist who produces outsider art. I don’t see my work as art because it’s created from pure and authentic creative impulses, and from a deep understanding of the science that I use. I have no formal art’s education, and I hope that my works are not tainted by ego, the desire for acclaim, and the need for social promotion. My goal is simple, to explore the inherent creativity of the natural world and to reveal its subtle, and usually hidden narratives, and above all to reveal its wonder. My hope is that my works will allow the interested observer to perceive biological phenomena that would otherwise be perpetually invisible, so that the hidden machinations of the natural world are brought to light. That’s all. Thank you for visiting!

65 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there. I am looking for a hardback volume of micro shots similar to yours, perhaps extended to virus etc. I am interested in close ups becoming abstraction as a source of inspiration. So far, I drawn a blank. Any help would be appreciated. S

  2. I am very impressed with the work that you have posted here. The way you present these biological phenomena and provide commentary on the character that each of the organisms possess is intriguing. So much so, in fact, that it has inspired me to learn more. I really appreciate what you are doing here and I hope to see more.

  3. Hi there,
    I just stumbled across this page and I’m mighty excited about it! I’m a practising Surface Designer (student), and I’m currently working with bacterias and moulds. I want to know much more about you work and methods. I need advice on growing bacterias effectively (and safely). Where abouts in the world are you based? And do you have any exhibition type shows or spaces that are open to the public? I am so intrigued by your work, I want to know everything!


  4. Dear Simon,
    I’m a PhD student at UC Davis studying plant Science. I also teach intro bio here as well as art science fusion class. I also make my own artwork using bacteria and fungi. Your work is amazing! Do you take interested learners? I’m almost done with my PhD :)
    Any way we could skype? I really want to learn more! I feel as though I found a kindred spirit!

    • Thanks Anna, I’d love to see your own bacterial/fungal artwork. I don’t have much money to fund my art and science but if you’re ever over in the UK I’d be happy to introduce you to the lab etc. More than happy to chat about my projects. Email works best for me. Best wishes, Simon

  5. Simon — my name is Nicole Bogart, tech reporter with Global News in Toronto. I am interested in doing a piece about the cell phone bacteria art seen here. If possible, please contact me as soon as possible.

  6. Dear Simon, I’d like to make a short news item about the phone bacteria for a Dutch science news website. If you would permit us to use those images, that would be great. Please get in touch.

  7. Are Antimicrobial solutions for Phones, touch-devices, keyboards/mice TV Remotes, light switches, elevator buttons, car steering wheels, handles etc… being supported by Infectious Control Practitioners? Are you supportive of the idea? Do you want manufactures to produce products with antimicrobial properties?

  8. Hello! I’m currently undergoing an art-science collaboration project creating an installation with bioluminescent bacterial and sculpture. We are using Vibrio fisheri.

    Are you able to share a bit about your culturing methods, and how you got the optimal levels of luminescence? I must admit I have not heard of the glycerine trick! Could you tell me more?

  9. hello there
    You’re images are amazing. Am I able to buy any prints from you somehow?
    many thanks, Alex

  10. Hi there,
    The microbe collections are really beautiful!! Especially those colorful bacteria and the fungi with special growth patterns on the agar plates. I’m a graduate student working in some project about the bacteria and fungi, though they look not as beautiful as yours. A small query here, do you think these artworks painted with the bacteria be long-term maintained? I mean will the colors still be there even after the bacteria are killed, or they will just disappear?
    Thank you for sharing so many beautiful pictures:)

  11. Hi there,
    The microbe collections are really beautiful!! Especially those colorful bacteria and the fungi with special growth patterns on the agar plates. I’m a graduate student working in some project about the bacteria and fungi, though they look not as beautiful as yours. A small query here, do you think these artworks painted with the bacteria be long-term maintained? I mean will the colors still be there even after the bacteria are killed, or they will just disappear?
    Thank you for sharing so many beautiful pictures:)

    • Hello, thank you for your kind words. The colours persist long after the bacteria have died. Some of the pigments are quite sensitive to light though and we sometimes use special glass to protect them. Best wishes, Simon

    • Hi Simon, you may contribute with a previous unpublished work (text, image) in relation to a word or phrase found at the source-text ‘The Sphinx Wants Me to Guess.”
      Please read the Instructons, and, if you like, contact me at aglimpseofnet@gmail.com.
      Best wishes, Dimitra

  12. Hi Simon,
    For a few months now, i’m following your blog. And i’m amazed about all the different species bacteria and their characters. As a Graphic Designer i would like to start a project about bacteria; how could you use them as a tool, or how can you communicate with bacteria, what can they tell you? Could you modify them into a shape, color or pattern? How can you make a medium or product of them?
    A lot of questions i like to discuss, so i’m looking for a biologist who is also interested in the properties of these micro-organisms and could tell me everything about it. And hopefully to create a project together..

    So if you’re interested or have some tips.. contact me!

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Ingrid, apologies for the lengthy delay in getting back to you. Thanks for your interest in my work. Yes, I’d be very happy to talk and collaborate. Best wishes, SimonQ

  13. hi dr simon park i am really fascinated about your bee-jeweled series of work i am also experimenting with crystals and wanted to ask for some advice on how to expand the size of the crystals more bigger. thanks Avisa x

  14. Hello-

    My son would like to attempt to recreate the experiment you did with soil and bioluminescent bacteria “The Exemplary Life of Soil”. You said “…Bioluminescent bacteria (naturally light producing bacteria) were inoculated onto the surface of a device containing agar which was then implanted into soil…” Our questions is thus: How was the agar implanted into the soil? Did you spread a thin layer on top of the agar plate? Was the agar plate heavily streaked with the bacteria? Or was a small concentrated sample of bacteria inoculated into the center of the agar plate? If streaked heavily, how do the “footprints” show through the collection of bacteria? We are extremely confused as to how to proceed _after_ the cultures have been put into the agar plates and in what pattern they should be initially placed. Any expedited help is greatly appreciated as my son would very much like to do this for a science fair project quite soon.

    Effusive thanks in advance and best of regards,

    Kat C.

    • Hi Kat, thanks for your interest in my work. I inoculated various plastic Petri dishes or square plastic assay plates around the perimeter of the agar, let these grow overnight, and then cut holes in side walls of these and simply pressed them into the soil of my garden. I hope this helps and good luck. Best wishes, Simon

    • Hi Niels, I’d be happy to give you my email address, if you could tell me a little bit more about why you want to contact me. I’m a little cautious because I get a lot of spam on my blog. Best wishes, Simon

      • Of course! I work for Lemz, an advertising agency based in Amsterdam. We are working on a campaign for which we are planning to “grow stuff”. As it is still in progress i can’t go into it to deep here on a public forum, but you can mail me at niels[at]lemz[dot]net, and i’ll mail you back with more information!



  15. Hi Simon,

    I am a student at Parsons School of Design in New York, I am a former student of Nurit Bar Shai and a member of Genspace community biolab in Brooklyn. I am working on my thesis project at Genspace, currently I’m growing kombucha to use the scoby as material as well as mycelium. I am really interested in your work on the blog, I am interested in the body’s interaction with materials and bioart. I’d love to speak further with you, in particular about isolating the gluconacetobacter xylinus bacteria from the kombucha. Let me know if you’d be interested in talking further,

    Ali Schachtschneider

  16. Hi Simon,
    your work is wonderful! As a fellow artist who is working in bacteria for my thesis, it is a pleasure to list you as a contemporary working artist!
    Best of luck, and I hope to see your pigment bacteria images some day.
    Lea WiseSurguy-Sophiliazo

  17. Hello,

    My name is Olivia MacKinnon. I am a student at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Currently I’m doing a project on bioluminescent algae and I’m having a lot of trouble photographing it. Do you have any advice on the specific settings? I have a Canon Rebel camera.

    Please reply to my e-mail at o_mackinnon@hotmail.com.

    Thank you,

    • Thanks for this Olivia. I use a Canon 7D and tripod with an exposure time of 1-5 secs so the setup shouldn’t be too different to what you have. One issue you need to be aware of is that they only produce light at night, so if you want to see them glow during the day, you need to train them to a specific light/dark cycle. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Simon

  18. Dear Simon

    I’m a journalist working for Hungary’s origo.hu news portal. I saw your photos about the bacteria on mobile phones on your blog, and I’d like to present them to our readers. Naturally, I’d display the proper credit line and a link to your blog (or a different link you specify).
    Would you let us use your images with these conditions?

    Thanks a lot,

    Adrian Stvorecz
    Science Journalist

  19. Hi Simon

    Are you based in Surrey England ? I am really fascinated by your colliding worlds and how you are using digital communication as a reciprocal engagement and seedbed… I am very interested in re-defining and adapting classification systems could I email you. Your work inspires me to carry on my journey…which I feel has only just begun…

    • Thanks for this Linn. Yes, I’m based at the University of Surrey in Guildford, but live in Hampshire. You might also find mind other microbiology based blog interesting:

      If you give me an email address, I’ll email you so that you have mine.

      Best wishes


  20. Greetings Simon!
    I’ve seen your photos with Photobacterium phosphoreum, they are truly wonderful! They led me to an idea for a workshop for my faculty’s science fair, so could you please tell me where to find these bacteria? If I do manage to get my hands on them, do you have some advice on growing them? Do they need to be trained for a specific day/night cycle?

    Best wishes,

    • Thanks for this Karla. These bacteria produce light continually so there’s no need to train them. You should able to get them from culture collections,but if not they’re really easy to isolate from fresh fish and seafood. Best wishes, Simon

  21. Hi Simon,
    for the german pupil-competition “Jugend forscht” we made a project about the slime mold “Physarum polycephalum”, and we want to present it at the national final at Ludwigshafen in may. For our presentation posters we need some pictures of the slime mold, and they have to be high resolution because of the huge size of our posters. On your website we found a great picture (http://exploringtheinvisible.com/2013/12/17/physarum-vivisection/, third photo) of “Physarum Polycephalum”, which has a high resulution. We would be grateful if we could use this photo for our posters, because it is a pupil’s project, and our ressources are limited. If you require any further information, feel free to contact me via E-Mail or just answer

    Thanks a lot,

    • Thanks for this Tobi. Please feel free to use the photograph for your project. If you could credit me or my blog for it that would be great.

      Good luck!

      Best wishes


  22. Hi Simon
    Have just come across your blog via twitter and wondered if there is any chance i could email you a short questionnaire? I’m writing an essay for my MA Fine Art course on artists who make maps which are inspired by or creating from nature/natural materials. My dealing is getting tight…I need to have it finished in a few weeks, but I just think your work would be great to reference. I will send you a copy of the essay when it is finished. If you are happy to do this, please email me and I will email you the questionnaire. (also, I you know of or are working with any other artists who create maps from microbiologies or microgeographies, I would be very obliged if you could give me their names.
    Best wishes


  23. Hi!
    You have such an interesting website! Such projects are really valuable for those who are interested in biology.
    I myself am a molecular biologist, but right now I’m really interested in creating an educational project to promote interest in biology, especially at microscopic level. I just started uploading some of my videos on youtube. For example, I have a recent video about what happens to a hair when it gets burnt – I was really fascinated by this change and I hope that it might be interesting for other people too. Also, in the near future I’ll be uploading videos about the hard life or sea urchin sperm vs the hard life of human sperm…
    If you are interested in any of my videos for your website, feel free to embed them to your posts, with the reference to my channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/mithotynochka/videos. In return, I can leave a reference to your website somewhere in my videos if you would like that.
    Let me know if you are interested in any collaboration!
    Sincerely, Nadezda

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