It’s not widely known but Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, was also an artist, and perhaps even the first BioArtist. He painted, not with conventional pigments but with living and pigmented bacteria, to make what are known as his germ paintings, and became a member of the Chelsea Arts Club because of this. Fleming painted houses, soldiers, mothers feeding children, and other scenes using bacteria. As a brief but engaging distraction from the science, I ask our BMS1035 students to follow in Flemings footsteps, and to paint whatever they want to (within reasonable decency), using a pallette of the same pigmented bacteria that he did.
Here is some of the fabulous art that the students and staff produced. The nature of the media is bacterial and the works inherit their mutable characteristics, of differential growth, mutation, and interaction. As a consequence of this the works never exist in a finished state as the bacteria continually interact, mutate and grow into each other. When this happens, the demarcating lines between, say, a petal and a stem, become blurred and so I hope too, do the lines between art and science.