25 November 2020
#DrawnToGeoscience is a series of posts by artists who draw about science and explain their process and inspiration while also showcasing their pieces. Learn more about contributing. This week, Brandi Bundy.
I have always loved art since I was little, you could find me alone drawing away somewhere or in class doodling. I wanted to be an artist at a young age but vividly recall my mother telling me “No, artists don’t make money.” From that point on I had no idea what I would do with myself, but it wasn’t being an artist. I still continued creating art but struggled in school, especially with math and science. My freshman year of high school I was set on the idea of dropping out and becoming a tattoo artist. I was failing all of my classes and saw no point in continuing with school.
Eventually, I moved to Washington where I barely finished high school. By senior year I was making up math and science classes from freshman year while attending the regular ones. I also had to go through this program called “Collection of Evidence” to prove I was competent enough to graduate even though I failed all the math state exams multiple times. My GPA was a 2.2 which meant I could at least enroll into a community college, so I did. Art has always been my escape from a dysfunctional home.
In 2015, I transferred from community college to Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) in Lewiston, Idaho. I started as a Biology major and after my second semester I switched to Chemistry. I realized quickly that to succeed in my studies I needed to forfeit many other things in life – one of these being art. Through 2015-2019, the only art I produced was for LCSC’s Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society. I produced the current logo for this chapter and a series of wildlife pieces for fundraising. When I took organic chemistry I thought the structures and crystals were beautiful, there were so many relationships in chemistry that I found artistically inspiring…so I tucked these ideas away. My last two years, I decided to double major and study Earth Science because my second love had always been rocks. I fell hard (a 10 on the Mohs scale) for thin sections when I took Earth Materials I. I saw a lot of microscope art focusing on biology things but not much for minerals, so this was another project idea I had in mind. My last work before graduating was creating a t-shirt illustration design that encapsulated our Division of Natural Science and Mathematics. After graduating, it was hard for me to fulfill my hunger to learn so I started this ‘Toxic Molecule’ Series.
As an undergraduate I had always been fascinated by alkaloids and toxins. Herpetology and entomology were my favorite biology courses, especially learning about the various chemical defense mechanisms. I found that connecting my love for art and chemistry was the best way to satisfy this curiosity. I would research a bunch of natural product molecules and their history to find where they were first isolated from and collect reference images of these species then start drawing on my iPad.