Scientists are working every day to understand the parts, relate the pieces and build the puzzle of our knowledge of this magnificent planet. The work they do is the fuel my illustrations use to spark interest and form a permanent connection between the minds of man and the natural world.
Meet Lindsay Wright, a science illustrator, studio artist, and naturalist native to Pittsburgh. Wright's deep connection to the beauty and nature of the region is what inspires her beautiful scientific illustrations.
Wright received a degree in Studio Arts with a minor in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh and has found the perfect marriage between those two seemingly opposing disciplines. She worked with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the Education Department as well as with paleontologist Dr. Matthew Lamanna before joining the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and furthering her education at California State University, Monterey Bay.
She then returned to Pittsburgh to pursue a career in scientific illustration. "I moved back to Pittsburgh to make my mark in my favorite city." In 2016, Wright became a full time freelance artist and has been working as a contract illustrator with the Smithsonian Science Education Center creating illustrations for science readers and with Shutterstock reviewing illustration images.
Wright's artwork is inspired, of course, by nature, but not just nature alone. Wright says that she is inspired by the "interesting stories all around." The stories that can be told through an illustration of an animal or a scene in nature are seemingly endless, but Wright does an amazing job of capturing an intimate moment in the lives of the creatures depicted.
"The ecosystem [in Western PA] is a temperate jungle, meaning there are a large variety of species within a small area and a seasonal climate with heavy precipitation. All of this variety and change makes every walk in the woods a new experience. I love watching stories unfold with every hike, whether it is something as quick as scaring a turkey out of the brush, or a long story like watching the water run-off patterns that appear every spring with the snow melt."
It is clear that she is highly tuned in to the experiences of others and enjoys making connections whenever possible. She says of her fellow Pittsburgh illustrators, "I am also very inspired by the members of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators. Being a bunch of yinzers, our meetings always involve a good amount of snacks, beer, belly laughs and support of each other's art careers."
To that end, Wright's love of the Pittsburgh region and its inhabitants has a lot to do with cultural history. "The people here admire go-getters. You can see that in our great support of local businesses, community events and the arts culture."
A go-getter indeed, Wright has created a mural for her hometown public library in Canonsburg, had her work featured in an exhibition at the Heinz History Center, and created a poster for the Pollinator Partnership to help spread awareness of the importance of pollinators. She also had her design for Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet installed downtown. This public art exhibition was designed to raise awareness of solutions to climate change.
Wright will also have work featured at the National Aviary in September as part of the National Aviary Maker Challenge which features a local maker each month who creates original art and unique gifts inspired by one species of bird for the gift shop.
Wright's assigned bird is the Rhinoceros Hornbills, and she plans to "create a page or two of a nature journal layout about the Rhino Hornbill focusing on interesting stories like how they incubate their eggs and why their horn is the color it is. These page layouts will be composed of various vignettes of artwork, with the ability to then print those vignettes of a variety of products such as tote bags, coffee mugs, T-shirts, etc." She also plans to lead an exercise in observation, educating people how to establish a connection with nature the way she does so well.