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Proceedings Paper

Biomimetics, color, and the arts
Author(s): Franziska Schenk
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Paper Abstract

Color as dramatic, dynamic and dazzling as the iridescent hues on the wings of certain butterflies has never been encountered in the art world. Unlike and unmatched by the chemical pigments of the artists’ palette, this changeable color is created by transparent, colorless nanostructures that, as with prisms, diffract and reflect light to render spectral color visible. Until now, iridescent colors, by their very nature, have defied artists’ best efforts to fully capture these rainbow hues. Now, for the first time, the artist and researcher Franziska Schenk employs latest nature-inspired color-shift technology to actually simulate the iridescence of butterflies and beetles on canvas. Crucially, studying the ingenious ways in which a range of such displays are created by insects has provided the artist with vital clues on how to adapt and adopt these challenging optical nano-materials for painting. And indeed, after years of meticulous and painstaking research both in the lab and studio, the desired effect is achieved. The resulting paintings, like an iridescent insect, do in fact fluctuate in perceived color - depending on the light and viewing angle. In tracing the artist’s respective biomimetic approach, the paper not only provides an insight into the new color technology’s evolution and innovative artistic possibilities, but also suggests what artists can learn from nature.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 March 2015
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9429, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2015, 94290Z (26 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084302
Show Author Affiliations
Franziska Schenk, Birmingham City Univ. (United Kingdom)
IFIBA-CONICET (Argentina)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9429:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2015
Akhlesh Lakhtakia; Mato Knez; Raúl J. Martín-Palma, Editor(s)

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