Tag Archives: dna

The World’s First Tetrachromat Artist

The unique nature of an artist can be considered art itself. What sets great artists apart may not be their talents but their circumstances. While we know much of our destinies are determined by the decisions we make, remnants of happenstance hover over many of the artists we know and love.

No one understands this better than Concetta Antico, who, in 2012, received news that would change her life and send her already successful art career into high gear.

The Making of an Artist

To Concetta, art and life have always been one in the same. Her love of art began at the age of seven, when she found herself fascinated by color. This was around the time she started painting. Even at a young age her peers recognized the Australian native’s creative talent.
America's Finest City Lights, San Diego 10x10Now in San Diego, the place she considers home, Concetta’s days begin at the sight of color. The moment she opens her eyes she feels inspired by the color variations outside her windows and inside her home. Even the different fibers found in her wood floors can captivate this color connoisseur. These everyday sightings are what encourage Concetta to paint extraordinary works of art.

As an oil painter, Concetta paints each piece of art in one sitting and may accomplish 12 or more paintings per month. (With an exhibit on the horizon she has been known to paint up to 30 pieces in that time.) As it may seem, there is no time for creative blocks in Concetta’s world, although, she rarely feels confined by the age-old artist’s plague. Each day Concetta’s appreciation for art is renewed as she takes in the millions of shades, tones and hues that color her world.

Beyond her own art, Concetta also owns and operates an oil painting school called The Salon of Art (http://www.thesalonofart.com/). In her 25 years of teaching, she has instructed over 15,000 people on how to paint.

At a glance, it seems Concetta Antico has lived multiple lives, all dedicated to the pursuit of art. But these are merely chapters of a single story; the story of an artist. And the current chapter, the one where she and her art become known throughout the world, is only just beginning.

Behind the Artist’s Eyes

Concetta describes some of her recent fame as a result of being at the right place at the right time. And to some degree, this is true. In fact, had Concetta’s life not unfolded the way it has, the world may still not fully understand tetrachromacy, a condition where a person possesses four types of cone cells (independent channels for conveying colors) in the eye. It is typical to possess three cone cells but not four. Ultimately, a person with tetrachromacy, or a tetrachromat, may see 99 million more colors than the average person.

Rainbow Gully, Mission Hills, SD 12×16 Hi resConcetta Antico is the world’s first tetrachromat artist, a combination that some researchers have dubbed “The Perfect Storm.” One reason why few people know about tetrachromacy is because not many people know they are seeing more colors than other people. Concetta, on the other hand, has been immersed in color her entire life. Therefore, she is a highly functioning tetrachromat who fully embraced her condition before she knew it was there. This is why Concetta is able to help researchers better understand 2-3 percent of the world’s population that have four color cones. Tetrachromacy involves a unique connection between one’s eyes and brain. Sometimes, people who are unaware they are tetrachromat’s have not allowed their brains to recognize the large amount of colors their eyes take in. Because Concetta has been using color her entire life, her brain is quick to recognize assortments of color that others (even fellow tectrachromats) cannot process.

However, if it weren’t for being at the right place at the right time Concetta may not have learned she has tetrachromacy. Nor would the world have the first artist who can shed light on what it is like to see life through rich color.

Recognizing Tetrachromacy

Two separate occasions led Concetta to the team of researchers who would genotype her as a tetrachromat. The first was a trip to an optometrist with her daughter, and the second came in the form of an email from one of her students.

Peacock Tango! 40x60 Hi ResIn 2009, Concetta’s then 8-year-old daughter came home from school with an uncommon concern. She couldn’t see the board when her teacher wrote on it in orange. It seemed like a case of colorblindness, which is odd because it is very rare for girls to be colorblind. However, a trip to the eye doctor proved that Concetta, a lifelong lover of color, had a daughter with colorblindness.

Concetta didn’t think too much of the rarity in her line of DNA until a student of hers, Wendy Martin, sent her an email about a genetic factor that may influence how some individuals see color. Wendy was a research scientist herself and had noted an “alchemy” in Concetta’s work. When Wendy told the artist/teacher that she couldn’t put her finger on what made the art unique, Concetta joked that it must be her fourth receptor. Shortly after this conversation, Wendy sent Concetta an email with an article that connected the dots of her unique talent. The article stated that a person with four receptors could, in fact, have a colorblind daughter.

On this day in November, 2012, Concetta emailed the authors of the article, thus taking the first step in recognizing what the world knows her for today. Concetta Antico is a tetrachromat.

Same Art, New Fame

What has changed since receiving this news? Concetta still wakes up inspired by colors outside her windows and inside her home; she still owns and teaches at The Salon of Art; she completes each painting in one sitting. But on top of these decades-long practices, Concetta now has a press career. With the eloquence of a tenure educator, the accent of an Australian empress, and the poise of an internationally renowned artist, Concetta grants interviews about her artwork and how tetrachromacy influences her craft.

There is no doubt that Concetta’s talent and work ethic are worthy of fame, but much of this new wave of success has come from her accepting and embracing a DNA condition that is propelling her career to new heights.

Idyll Hours ~ Daisy Days 24×36 Hi ResSo in an exclusive interview with Concetta Antico, the world’s first tetrachromat artist, Segmation has one burning question: What is your favorite color?

Her response might come as a surprise. “White,” she says.

An artist who is known to live in a world of color is most drawn to the color white. Some might argue that white is not a color, but those people are not tetrachromats. “Everything speaks to me,” explains Concetta. “It’s hard to detach from color. It is a huge component of everything I do.” She also expresses that colors like red and yellow are too strong. To her, white is peaceful. And let us not forget, to a tetrachromat, even white is a mosaic of color.

Images made available by Concetta Antico.

Extracting Art from Science

Art is thought to be subjective. But with advancements in technology, driven by adept curiosity, one woman seeks to make art exact. To accomplish this, she extracts art from science.

los201Heather Dewey-Hagborg is working towards her PhD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The name of this university correctly suggests the concentration of her degree path: Electronic Arts. In the past she studied Information Arts and Interactive Telecommunications. Now, she puts this knowledge to good use with an original yet familiar concept.

DNA in Art

For years, shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bones have been using DNA evidence to uncover suspects and pursue perpetrators. Dewey-Hagborg takes this popular scientific concept of and turns it into a mesmerizing art form.

Stranger Visions is the name of the project that allows her to build sculptures of people’s faces whom she’s never met. By picking up pieces of DNA (from strands of hair, or cigarette butts, or pieces of chewing gum) she collects the basis from which she will create unique 3D artwork.

The Question that Drives Art

The curiosity that led her to merge art and biotechnology began when she noticed herself entranced by a single piece of hair. This led to a looming question: What is there to learn about the person who was once here?

In tireless efforts to answer this question (many times over), Dewey-Hagborg has come up with a complex process that allows her to create 3D sculptures of people’s faces from the DNA they leave behind.

The Complex Process

Knowing it is possible to extract a whole genome from one stand of hair, the information artist first took a piece of evidence to Genspace, a community biotechnology lab in Brooklyn. Then she developed a process that is both technical and intricate. In developing keen understanding of her discovery, Dewey-Hagborg has been able to outline, replicate, and perfect her concept. She has a personal account of this process available on her blog.

Ultimately, by amplifying sections of the genome she is able to assume a person’s unique facial features, like nationality, weight, eye color and more. She uses snips, which are the parts of a genome that link to traits. By correlating the results of amplification, and using computational programs, she is able to come up with a blue-print of the sculpture (or person) she will replicate.

As a result of her intellect, skill, and curiosity, Heather Dewey-Hagborg has brought more to the world than a new form of art. She is bridging a gap between science and the community and making it known that extracting and analyzing DNA is becoming more accessible to the general public.

After viewing the Stranger Visions exhibit, it is likely to experience a heightened sense awareness about leaving DNA behind. Just like creator of this 3D art.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Art and Science:

Color Advances Science

Custom Art Made from Your DNA

Art and Science – A Genius Combination

Be a Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on FacebookSegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

Custom Art Made from Your DNA

What do you believe is the epitome of custom art? Are you surprised that we answer this question by pointing a finger at you?

It’s true. You are completely unique. But are you wondering what this has to do with art?

DNA11 is a company that uses genetic science to create custom DNA artwork.

This means you can purchase custom DNA art; artwork designed around your DNA fingerprint.

How Does it Work?

If you are interested in purchasing one of these pieces, your first step is to visit the DNA11 website (http://www.dna11.com/about.asp).

The company website will give you detailed information about the portrait making process. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect after you contact DNA11.

What You can Expect

DNA11 will send you at kit which includes a mouth swab and a DNA collection card. After you have collected your DNA you will ship it back to the company.

From there, your DNA sample will be taken to the lab and technicians will isolate eight DNA sequences that are unique to all individuals. What they end up with is a DNA imprint. This imprint is then stained and photographed.

The photograph becomes the foundation of the artwork. A designer will add color to the imprint photograph until it is deemed a worthy piece artwork. Finally, your custom picture will be copied onto a canvas.

If DNA artwork doesn’t sound like something you are interested in, DNA11 offers other options. You can also have your fingerprint transformed into a piece of custom art, as well as your lips. Information about these processes can also be found on the company website under Kiss Portraits and Fingerprint Portraits.

If they still haven’t grabbed your attention, DNA11 now also offers DNA ancestry portraits. These portraits encode you genetic lineage and turn it into a one-of-a-kind family portrait.

If you want to know more about DNA art and the company DNA11, founded by Adrian Salamunovic and Nazim Ahmed, visit the website below and watch a video presentation created by the company founders.

http://money.cnn.com/video/smallbusiness/2012/04/16/sbiz-dna11-canvaspop.cnnmoney/?source=cnn_bin

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

www.segmation.com