Living organic material in contemporary art – cartoon

contemporary art cartoon genetic sculpture

Cartoon of sculptures created using organic material.

The concept behind this cartoon is that there is a way of incorporating living genetic material or dna into contemporary artworks so that the material manifests itself in some bizarre and unsettling way.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art044
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Genetics cartoons

genetics cartoons

Genetics cartoon

This is a cartoon about genetics that I designed, to illustrate the concept of life balancing on a strand of dna, like a tightrope walker.
My cartoons on genetics have been published in magazines such as Nature and Chemistry World (the magazine of the “Royal Society of Chemistry).

Click here to see more of my genetics cartoons.

Neurological or genetic causes of criminality – cartoon

neurological or genetic causes of criminality - cartoon

Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
Neurological origins of behavioural traits
Neurocriminology and its implications

A cartoon about the possibility that criminal behaviour or deviant behaviour may sometimes (or often) have its roots in a person’s biology.
The idea that personality may be determined by biology is one aspect of the nature v nurture debate, and has implications for the concept of free will

An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.

The cartoon illustrates the tendency of criminal lawyers to sometimes claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna or neurological makeup are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the person’s dna or neurology.

The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine

The cartoon was first published in Philosophy Now magazine

Ref a607
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Science cartoon. Artificial life cartoon

science cartoon - artificial life dna cartoon

A cartoon from my selection of science cartoons
Artificial life cartoon
Creating life in the laboratory

Dna cartoon
A cartoon showing a scientist in a science laboratory that does research into artificial life.
He has dropped a test tube on the floor. A strand of dna is wriggling away, like a snake.

An illustration about the fears that are raised about scientific experiments going wrong and unleashing problems on the world (such as epidemics of diseases and so on)

More of my science cartoons

Cartoon reference number: a540
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Cave painting of aliens – illustration

was god an astronaut? cartoon

Cartoon of cave painting of a ufo or flying saucer
Was God an astronaut? Cartoon

Did life reach earth from outer space?

The ufo in the cartoon is projecting a dna shaped beam of energy down into the water on earth, creating the first life on the planet.
The concept of Was God an Astronaut? (as written about by Erich von Däniken, amongst others)has been revived recently with the film Prometheus by Ridley Scott, and will no doubt be aired again when the sequel is released. In Prometheus there was a scene depicting prehistoric cave paintings, although not humorously as here.

The theory that life may have been planted on Earth billions of years ago by an advanced alien civilization is sometimes known as directed panspermia. This theory was (mischievously?) proposed by Francis Crick (of dna fame) together with biologist Leslie Orgel in 1971. Directed panspermia is sometimes evoked to solve a particular problem in the science of life – science’s current inability to explain life’s origin. Of course the theory simply puts off the explanation, very much in the way that religions do

This cartoon first appeared in BBC Knowledge magazine.

Cartoon reference number: a337

Gene doping cartoon – gene doping and the Olympic Games

gene-doping-olympics-cartoon

Gene doping cartoon – gene doping and the Olympic Games

The illustration shows a dna spiral with the Olympic rings integrated with it.

The illustration is to illustrate any links between gene doping in sport and the Olympic Games

A cartoon about the Olympics, genetic manipulation, genetic modification, gene therapy, cheating in sport.

Cartoon reference number: a234
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Gene doping cartoon or illustration. Will gene doping occur in the 2012 Olympics?

dna gene doping syringe illustration

Gene doping cartoon or illustration

A cartoon about gene doping in sport, Olympics gene doping. Genetic manipulation in competitive sport.

The illustration shows a hypodermic syringe with a double helix strand of dna inside it

Gene doping is defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as the non-therapeutic use of cells, genes, or genetic elements to improve athletic performance.
Gene manipulation for muscle enhancement in athletics and other sport has bioethical implications similar to those involved in chemical doping and other methods of gaining an unfair advantage over sporting competitors.
Genetic manipulation in athletics and other sport may include ways of increasing muscle growth, altering blood characteristics, increasing endurance, enhancing oxygen dispersal and reducing pain perception.
A cartoon or illustration about gene therapy, genetic manipulation, ethics of gene doping.

Cartoon reference number: a232
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Gene doping in sport. Genetic testing of athletes

genetic testing of athletes - cartoon

Sports and Olympics cartoon. Genetic manipulation in competitive sport.

Sports cartoon or illustration. Gene doping in sport. Is genetic testing of athletes needed?

An illustration of the bulging biceps of a GMA (genetically modified athlete).
This illustration is particularly pertinent due to the approaching London Olympic Games.
The illustration shows a muscular arm (possibly of a weightlifter or shot putter) holding a gold medal signifying that the athlete has come first in an event at the Olympic Games or a similar competitive sporting event.
The bulging biceps on the arm display an armband type tattoo in the form of a dna double helix.
The implication is that the athlete’s genes (modified or not) have influenced the fact that he has won the gold medal in the competition.

Gene doping is defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as the non-therapeutic use of cells, genes, or genetic elements to improve athletic performance.
Gene manipulation for muscle enhancement in athletics and other sport has bioethical implications similar to those involved in chemical doping and other methods of gaining an unfair advantage over sporting competitors.
Genetic manipulation in athletics and other sport may include ways of increasing muscle growth, altering blood characteristics, increasing endurance, enhancing oxygen dispersal and reducing pain perception.
A cartoon or illustration about gene therapy, genetic manipulation, ethics of gene doping.

Drawn: 2012
Cartoon reference number: a231
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DNA tightrope as a metaphor for life

Illustration. A strand of dna as a tightrope

DNA cartoon or illustration
DNA tightrope as a metaphor for life

A strand of dna depicted as a tightrope, with the double helix creating the strands of the rope. A person is walking along the strand.
The strand of dna is a metaphor for the precarious nature of life.

The illustration suggests existential vertigo – the dizzy feeling that can come about when contemplating the precarious nature of existence and reality.
A philosophy of science cartoon.

Cartoon reference number: gen010
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Genetic engineering and gene patenting cartoons

Genetic engineering cartoon. The dna spiral and gene patenting

Genetic engineering cartoon
A cartoon about patents and profits in the pharmaceutical industry

Cartoon showing the dna double helix spiral as a dollar sign, alluding to the profits that can be made by ‘big pharma’ from gene patenting and genetics.

A cartoon about commercial interests in medicine and medical research

Original version drawn: 2005

Cartoon reference: gen005
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Dna cartoons – dna as a ladder

Genetics cartoon: the dna double helix as a ladder

Genetics cartoon
DNA cartoon

The dna double helix as a ladder, with a person climbing up it

The shape of the dna double helix makes it easy to use the dna molecule in metaphors about the nature of life (at both the physically and psychological levels). Here it’s being used as a ladder to invoke the idea of live as a journey (again both physically and psychologically, with the physical aspects being anything from evolution over eons to the length of a single human life)
Cartoon reference number: gen004