Rafael Araujo’s Butterflies and Helices

It is so good to see artists really begin to properly engage with the DNA double helix and put their own spin on it. It wasn’t the case a couple of years ago when I first started this blog. Then, I couldn’t find interesting images of the double helix that didn’t pertain to a more corporate medical take on it.

But these images from the Venezuelan artist Rafael Araujo are absolutely beautiful and make even more of an impact when I consider this quotation from the Colossal page that features his art:

In the midst of our daily binge of emailing, Tweeting, Facebooking, app downloading and photoshopping it’s almost hard to imagine how anything was done without the help of a computer. For Venezuelan artist Rafael Araujo, it’s a time he relishes. At a technology-free drafting table he deftly renders the motion and subtle mathematical brilliance of nature with a pencil, ruler and protractor. Araujo creates complex fields of three dimensional space where butterflies take flight and the logarithmic spirals of shells swirl into existence. He calls the series of work Calculation, and many of his drawings seem to channel the look and feel of illustrations found in Da Vinci’s sketchbooks. In an age when 3D programs can render a digital version of something like this in just minutes, it makes you appreciate Araujo’s remarkable skill.

There’s more to be found on the artist’s website.

Double Helix Calculus
Double Helix Calculus
The Fibonacci Sequence
Slim Cone Double Helix
Double Helix
Morpho Double Helix

Double Helix as Textile Art

If you look hard enough, there are references to the DNA double helix in all walks of life. This particular piece of textile art is photographed by Richard Sweeney and was part of the Miniartextil Exhibition in Italy.


Nature by Numbers, a Sensory Science Film

The presence of DNA or at least the visual suggestion of it is there from the off in the helical shape of the nautilus/ram’s horn the mathematics describe. But it is also there implicitly in the rest of the film – I start to think in terms of genetic coding it takes to make all those little sections of eye of the sunflower or the compound eye of the dragon fly. Besides, it’s just a beautiful short film. Perhaps inevitably, Fibonacci numbers come into play here.

When the Spanish filmmaker and graphic designer Cristóbal Vila looks at nature, he sees numbers, and the remarkable elegance of mathematics. Uniting music and animation with mathematics, Nature by Numbers is a sensory science film, an immersion in the world of the minute and microscopic, and an exciting introduction to some of the great geometric and scientific concepts.