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Thoughts from our student-artists: Ayoola Oladimeji

How do you communicate with scientists to define or communicate their visual communication needs/goals?

As for my proposal, I have been working a lot with my sister, Anu, who is also very interested in science and art and we plan to create cover art to warn people of high salt intake. We think more people should see how dangerous it is. We’ve been reading research papers from Dr. Kirabo to fully grasp its impact, especially on marginalized communities, and plan to make the best art that we can. Our audience is the general public because salt is in everyone’s daily lives. However, in large amounts, it can be extremely harmful. Recently, there has been a surge in sodium-related conditions, such as hypertension. Hypertension is also known to affect minorities disproportionately. Many minorities do not necessarily trust healthcare providers because of the lack of representation in the field. Hopefully, artwork can help bridge the gap because it conveys information conveniently, where someone can earn a rudimentary understanding of how salt affects the human body. Artwork cannot replace medical advice, but it can point people in the right direction. As a minority in the United States, I want marginalized populations to feel more comfortable seeking the help they need.

Tell us about your experience in the AiR program so far

I have enjoyed the AiR program. I think the workshops have been helping me with learning different skills and determining a direction for my art. I have not been involved in a program that used art and science to communicate ideas, so I appreciate this opportunity. I also valued the constructive feedback that I was given from my hub and the lab I was working in. Most of the advice was beneficial. For example, Dr. Kirabo advised me to add blue veins to the tree's root. Some of the advice I did not take, just because, as an artist, I believe it is important to distinguish helpful comments. At the end of the day, you are responsible for the art you create, so use suggestions, but create it the way you want it. Art is a form of expression. You can convey thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams through different media. During this program, I used digital art for the first time in my life. Since I was trying out a new medium, I used sketching (something that I am familiar with) to create mixed-media art. I began with the digital aspect and then printed out the design and sketched the rest.

What has it been like working on the hub projects?

It has been an outstanding experience. My hub joined the other group from William and Mary to create a display method to show off our art. Collaboration is always good, but especially in art, because art is meant to convey things that words cannot. Everyone in the group was kind and dedicated to their work, so it made things a lot easier. In the William and Mary hub, we discussed ideas to display our art in a way that captured the essence of biological processes through drawings, sketches, and paintings. In short, we made a slideshow, where each person had a slide and showed their art, along with a short slide, so the audience could learn about us, as the artists described. We also introduced ourselves on another slide, so the audience could learn about us as the artists.

When getting tips and pointers, I do not automatically change my work. I take time to reflect on how the piece would come across to the audience. As soon as I have read the feedback and figured out how to incorporate it, I change my piece, ensuring I stay somewhat true to my original design. Thus stated, the advice given in the hub was very beneficial.

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