This month’s Corps Close-up takes a peek at Eddie Edwards’ astrophysics illustrations entitled Visualizing the Invisible, a project for The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) at their conference on the Very Large Array (VLA).
Visualizing the Invisible ~ Eddie Edwards
Last June, Santa Fe illustrator Eddie Edwards was among four national artists commissioned to capture the highly conceptual work of The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) at their conference on the Very Large Array (VLA).
“I think I was an odd choice as the only non-scientific illustrator of the group. But the team at the NRAO were very interested to see a more conceptual & abstract interpretation. They were a wonderfully supportive group.”
The VLA is an advanced scientific facility located in Socorro, NM, utilizing an extensive arrangement of state-of-the-art radio telescopes designed to “see” visually imperceptible wavelengths in the atmosphere, bombarding the earth from space.
Among NRAO scientists are many amazing discoveries in the world of astrophysics. Such discoveries are often difficult to share or present due to their theoretical nature. In its effort to seek ongoing project support and funding, NRAO sought the assistance of Edwards and other conceptual artists to illustrate the highly complex invisible concepts astrophysicists strive to convey to the public.
Each illustrator was tasked with attending various project presentations arguing the need to expand the size and technical capabilities of the VLA.
For her part, Edwards was assigned the challenge of visualizing the Galaxy Ecosystem – an invisible, galactic ballet of gases, dust, stars and radio waves.
“It’s difficult to make a case for expanding the VLA when scientists don’t yet know what they’re going to discover. I thought the client’s notion to use an artist’s eye to ‘tangibilize the intangible’ was an astute idea.”
From her initial explorations experimenting with acrylic paint, collage and digital manipulation, Eddie fused familiar scientific imagery with impressionistic metaphors and analogies. The result was an enlightening frame of reference for understanding what is an invisible world.
“There was an enormous amount of unfamiliar information to assimilate in a short period of time, but it was fascinating. After an intense period of discovery, I trusted the essence of what I know, of what artists do … absorb things and reinterpret them.”
In addition to her work as an artist/illustrator, Edwards works as a graphic designer. Visit her at HelloEddie.com.
If you are a DC Member and would like to share a project, please contact Renee Innis at firstname.lastname@example.org. This series will be posted on the DC Blog, facebook, twitter, and via our eblasts. We look forward to hearing from you!