GeekCraft Expo PDX is right around the corner, June 10 and 11 at the DoubleTree Portland! Here, we chat with artist Sienna Morris of Fleeting States Studios, who takes us inside her process of creating beautiful, intricate art with science and math equations!
GeekCraft Expo: First off: we’re so glad you’re returning to the show! Catch us up on the highlights of the past year!
Sienna Morris: Last year was bonkers. Let's see . . .
I was published in Physiology News Magazine, talking about my process and background. That's a feature cover article (pages 22-25)! Woo, science!
I presented my work at the Physiology Conference in Dublin, Ireland.
I released a series on the brain and spine!
I had the coolest gallery show ever at Labyrinth Escape Games for my puzzle drawing on Sherlock Holmes, where attendees played and solved live puzzles to get clues to my drawing.
I exhibited a series of regular oil paintings at AFRU Gallery (entirely without numbers). It was full of feelings . . . and a little eroticism.
I collaborated with NeuroGirl, Brittany Alperin of OHSU and NW Noggin, to create a piece on depression and the efficacy of self care via the exciting world of EEG!
We worked our butts off in Chicago, Portland, NY, and Seattle on the comic con circuit.
GCE: How do you describe your art to anyone who hasn’t seen it before?
SM: I create art entirely with numbers and equations by hand, inspired by the wonderful world of science. This technique is similar to stippling, where you draw with dots rather than lines. I call my technique Numberism.
GCE: Has anyone solved "The Game Is Afoot," your Sherlock Holmes mystery painting?
SM: No, they have not. One person is teetering on the edge but he hasn't tipped over yet. I believe he gave up. I may have made it too difficult. I plan on making a puzzle drawing of the modern Sherlock in collaboration with Labyrinth Escape Games somewhere down the line. When we do, it'll be a bit easier to solve, I promise!
GCE: How do you go about incorporating math and science equations into your work?
SM: I draw my pieces entirely with numbers and equations by hand. Each piece takes about 200 hours to draw and upward of a year to research. The technique is similar to pointillism, but I use numbers and equations rather than dots. I choose my numbers based on research into science. I'm not an expert in any of it, and no, I'm not a mathematician or scientist. I'm a science enthusiast. So I'll study a subject (using books and the internet, and on occasion a real-life scientist will assist me), then I pool together my favorite sciencey bits and create a drawing with it. The idea is to tell a scientific story with the piece, and to persuade others to see the beauty that I see when studying science. (It's real pretty if you're looking.)
GCE: How has the GeekCraft Expo clientele differed from that at Saturday Market, Portland’s outdoor weekly arts and crafts market?
SM: It's like if you took the crowd at Portland Saturday Market and filtered out anyone who isn't a nerd or a geek. So, you know, it's a room filled with my people; just a bunch of nerdy folks who like art.
GCE: Which geeky characters—either from TV, movies, or video games—do you feel closest to?
SM: The Doctor inspires me in a way that makes me want to explore, study, and rant and rave, so that speaks to me. He's bold, fearless, and full of love and admiration of human life and what they can do with it. In his next regeneration I would like him to be a lady, and I would like that lady to be me. Where do I sign up to be a Timelord?
GCE: What was unexpected about GeekCraft Expo 2016?
SM: We expected a small crowd and a pretty chill event last year. We were really surprised with the turnout! 4,500 people for a first-year con in a small space is crazy pants. (Pant of the crazy.)
The folks were great too. I will always come back to work a con that's run by kind and helpful people, and the crew for GCE is certainly that. We had a blast.
GCE: What kinds of pieces will you bring to the show this year?
SM: I'm bringing canvas prints, paper prints, shirts, and my comic con-only 8x10 paper prints for $20 each or three for $50. I may even bring an original with me.
Thank you to Sienna for the interview! While we've got you, remember to RSVP for GeekCraft Expo PDX and our awesome kickoff party June 9 at Bridge City Comics with free beer, prizes, and more!