BY MEERI KIM, PhillyVoice Contributor | Published JULY 07, 2015
The artwork of Greg Dunn starts off simple, typically with circular blobs of liquid black ink on a piece of paper. With a few strong puffs of air, the blobs grow finger-like tendrils that stretch outward — and in turn, those tendrils split off into even smaller branches. Eventually, the paper is covered with what looks like a leafless, black forest.
This ink blowing technique, discovered as a happy accident by Dunn, turns out to be the perfect way to mimic the sprawling, fractal-like complexity of neurons. Instead of a brush, he blows on droplets of ink through a thin tube to depict the shape of neurons and their branches, called dendrites. Dendrites receive messages from other neurons while an elongated trunk known as an axon takes information away.
The average person’s brain has about 80 billion neurons, all firing as an intricate and coordinated symphony to create the human experience — a concept that is at the core of Dunn’s work.
“I’m in a niche that contains subject matter of fundamental importance to every human being on the planet,” he said. “We all have brains, and brains govern everything we do.”