Tangled Bank Studios
10th Anniversary Celebration
This painting was created live at the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Tangled Bank Studios, a production company that is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and is dedicated to crafting compelling, immersive films about science and scientists. The artwork memorializes the storytelling journey of the company shared at this event, and includes visual references to many of their films. The positive, uplifting message to be conveyed in the artwork was one of encouraging conservation; offering a beacon of hope; focus on the future of the planet; shining a light; inspiring people to take action; and connecting with hearts and minds.
As explained in the Tangled Bank Studios FAQ page, the “tangled bank” reference in their name is taken from the poetic final paragraph of the later editions of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species:
“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”
You’ll see the first line of this quote from Darwin visually referenced in the artwork (under the bridge on the left). The FAQ page explains that this paragraph refers to “how all life forms are inextricably bound to each other in a way that can seem chaotic but, in fact, is guided by natural laws. Understanding these laws and making sense of the chaos are the heart of scientific discovery and, we think, a great adventure. Our aspiration is to bring viewers along on this adventure and to make it as real, immediate, and meaningful as it is for the scientists themselves.”