Scientific Artist Michelle Schwengel-Regala



Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Tanya Ortega – photographer and founder of National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) that presents unique artist-in-residence programs in national parks, and Michelle Schwengel-Regala – scientific illustrator, fiber artist, naturalist and NPAF Invitation Artist.


Artist statements regarding featured images:

Tear-sheet of science illustrations I did in the 1990s during the middle of my career as a science illustrator. These pieces were created for various purposes and audiences: technical scientific journal articles, popular science books, museum exhibit signage, greeting cards, newspaper articles, etc.


Around 2010 I dove into using fiber as my medium with the initiation of the “Hawaii Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef” exhibit, a community art project with participants from around the world contributing knitted or crocheted models of Hawaiian marine life. This picture shows a few of these items which were included in the Bishop Museum’s recent exhibit about the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.


In 2016 while on the Artist-at-Sea residency between Hawai‘i and Tahiti I created different types of fiber art incorporating data. This body of work included this functional QR code, as well as a knitted CTD data series that features graphs of water qualities at sampling stations along the route.


And most recently I have translated these data sets from two-dimensional graphs into three-dimensional sculptures of water data.  These large knitted wire sculptures were commissioned for the inaugural Honolulu Biennial representing contemporary art and artists of the Pacific Rim. These three pieces are currently on display at The Hub, the main venue for the Honolulu Biennial.


After a long lapse I have returned to drawing, but instead of using pencils or charcoal I have chosen to work in metalpoint as Renaissance artists used to use. These are examples of my silverpoint drawings, shown in the form of quick sketches (spruce cone and grandpa), and a more detailed and life-size study of an endangered Hawaiian sphinx moth (five inch wingspan).


National Parks Arts Foundation

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