Jesse Lundervold is a junior chemistry and studio art major. She sat with The Hilltop Monitor to discuss what she has learned about the two seemingly opposite subjects.
Jesse talked about the similarities she found between art and science.
“As I’ve gone through both of my majors, I’ve found that they both possess a lot of creativity. Going through labs and chemistry projects I’ve realized that there’s a lot of critical thinking and design involved. All the major advances that we’ve had within the scientific field have been from people saying, ‘Hey, look at this new concept,’ or ‘What can we do with this? How can we make this better?’ A lot of people look at science and assume that it’s completely analytical, and it is analytical, but having the capacity to see something and realize that you can improve it is the same creativity that I’ve found in my art classes.”
She also detailed the uncommon correlation between the two majors.
“My mom has been a great influence on my life and inspired me to go through with these two majors. She’s a statistician and a graphic artist, so she has made a balance between the two that I wasn’t sure I would be able to do myself. I didn’t really see the similarities until I got into more advanced classes, like film photography, but then I realized that the camera is completely based in optical physics and ceramics is almost completely chemistry. It blew my mind because I had never thought of it that way, but having back-to-back science and art classes made me see the similarities. Actually, I think my chemistry background has allowed me to go more in depth with the media that I use in my art because I know the very basic scientific principles behind it. I thought the artistic part of my life would just be there when I needed to be rejuvenated, kind of like a break from math and science, but I ended up seeing how they go together. I think I’ll continue finding those similarities for the rest of my life. They’re both just part of me now.”
Moreover, she talked about what she wishes people knew about science and art.
“I definitely have the mindset that a lot of subjects are interdisciplinary. If you sit down and think about the processes that a chemist and artist go through, they’re both striving to fulfill a purpose in order to make a change in the world. A scientist is always trying to make an impact and change the world for the better, and an artist is doing the same by conveying a message or creating something that causes someone to think differently. I feel like they’re on the same track, but just going about it two different ways.”
She discussed whether she felt the school system pushed toward a divide between the two.
“Oh, definitely. Going through middle school and high school, it was always ‘the arts department’ and ‘the science department’ with basically no communication between the students that were involved in the two. I think it would be beneficial on all levels if there were more integration. Also, coming from a rural part of Missouri, I found that there wasn’t a lot of funding for the arts. Granted, there wasn’t a lot of funding for the sciences either, but it made me sad that the school system didn’t value the arts. The students that might be in those art classes are the future architects, designers and creative thinkers that are so important to society. There’s always a divide between a scientist’s ‘left-brain’ and a creative’s ‘right-brain,’ but that’s completely false. I don’t fit into either one, and there shouldn’t be that strict separation.”
Finally, she discussed her plans if she had the opportunity to succeed in both.
“As a chemist and an artist, I feel like I have a purpose to make a positive change in the world. That’s what I want from my chemistry degree. I want to focus on environmental or sustainability-based chemistry, but from that, there’s so many paths I can visualize my life taking. This is an incredibly simplified goal, but I want to do something that will positively affect the world, no matter how small.”