From Bench to Canvas

Natural Selections interviews Beatriz Chacon Lopez, research assistant in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

Natural Selections (NS): How long have you been doing science and how long have you been painting?

Beatriz Lopez (BL): I’ve been doing science for four years, and painting a lot longer. I painted my first painting when I was fourteen years old.

NS: Has your work in the lab changed your art or the way you think about art?

BL: I have always felt that science and art are connected. Even though my paintings do not have science as a subject, the creation of a painting requires understanding of physics and material sciences; this knowledge goes into making a painting appear the way it does. The physical principles behind the colors in a painting and how they change with illumination, the pigments, binders, varnish, and support materials need to be understood before being used in a painting.

NS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

BL: In 2001, I did my first self-portrait. I wanted to find a way to remove all that was within me. Since then I’ve become the protagonist of my paintings. In Frida Kahlo’s words: “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”

NS: Do you think the employee art show encourages the participation of employees enough?

BL: I think the art show encourages employees to display their talent. It was designed to give artists at all skill levels an opportunity to exhibit their artwork. I really enjoy this event.

NS: What is the best and worst memory from your participation in the art show over the years?

BL: I’ve been doing it for three years. The best memory is of people telling me they like my work. The worst one was when, two years ago, my painting was considered controversial. The painting could be part of the show under one condition: the piece would be displayed in a place not too visible for the public. I accepted the condition.

NS: What would you change in the way the art show is organized and run?

BL: A little more thought should be put into the arrangement and display of the art work. For example, direct light makes it hard to see and appreciate art pieces with reflective surfaces, i.e. pictures covered by glass. But other than that I think that the art show is a rather well organized event.

NS: Are you participating this year?

BL: No. This year for me has been a year of experimenting with new techniques, to get new inspiration, and I have nothing concrete to show yet.

NS: Is there another art piece in the art show that impressed you that you still remember from previous years’ shows?

BL: Yes! I loved my sister Paola Emhardt’s Mixed Media from last year’s show.

October 2012