Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Liv Bargman: Featured Artist from That Which We Do Not Understand

Liv Bargman was featured in my first book, Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration. She is drawn like a proton to scientific ideas and theories, which she tries to untangle with felt tip pens and hand drawn type. Dark Matter was inspired by a recent collaboration with astrophysicists and science authors on a project in Bristol, which sought to explore this cosmic gap in our understanding. ‘Dark matter makes up about 27% of the known universe, yet it is a huge hole in our current understanding of the cosmos. Is it something allusive, strange and or is it perhaps golden light?

Liv Bargman-moose
Liv Bargman-dino
Your image was inspired by the mystery of Dark Matter: what do you find most fascinating about this idea?
That it’s still an undetermined idea which is baffling scientists and it deals with philosophy as well as hard physics, so theoretical and experimental physicists are working together on space science projects. They know what dark matter isn’t rather than what it is. So it might be made up of weird particles like axions or WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles), but it isn’t antimatter.

Liv Bargman-Scribby Science
Liv Bargman-geology rocks
Your image was inspired by the mystery of Dark Matter: what do you find most fascinating about this idea?
That it is still thought of as an idea, a concept, a mathematical equation and not real hard particle ‘stuff’. Which it is, in some form – we just don’t know what form it is. Madness really, as it makes up for most of what the universe is made from.

Liv Bargman-planes
Liv Bargman-entertainist spring2
How did you get to work with scientists on the recent project that sparked this interest?
I am just really interested in being involved in science illustration projects. I contacted At-Bristol (the science learning centre), Showed them my portfolio, and a year later I was able to take part in a project to inspire 14-16 year olds to learn about physics. Learning, education, science and design all intermingle, and it’s totally great. Jim Alkhalili has provided the voiceover for the animation we created.

Liv Bargman 1
Liv Bargman 2
What else did you learn about the cosmos that would perhaps boggle our minds?
That there’s a theory expounded by mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose that the Big Bang wasn’t the beginning, and this universe was preceded by another, preceded by another – so we are just one part of a long chain of Big Bangs stretching into infinity. His thinking stems from evidence in data taken from the Cosmic Microwave Background (old light photographed from the big bang 13.8 billions years ago). When a universe expands to its limit even the black holes themselves evaporate and it collapses back in on itself in a highly ordered way, to start the process of creating a Big Bang all over again.

Liv Bargman-colours
How did you create your artwork and what elements relate to the concept of Dark Matter?
The artwork features drawings made with Pentel felt tips and Staedtler black fine liners combined with scans of some textures in Photoshop. The fragmented particles are highlighted in gold and the guy in thee middle constitutes what Dark Matter might possible look like.

Liv Bargman-water cycle
What kind of space do you use as a studio?
At the moment I work at a fifties desk in my living room as I’ve just moved back to London. I used to have a studio space when I was living in Bristol (Drawn in Bristol). My new job as a full time book designer takes up a lot of my time and I’ve had to squeeze my illustration projects in between, which is not ideal.

Liv Bargman-asarabacca
You’ve led an eclectic design career since graduating in 2008, what has been a highlight so far?
Yes, it’s been eclectic. I loved working for Wild & Wolf, and Paper & Cloth and I would love to develop more design product gifts. I currently work in publishing so it’s very interesting to see behind the design process.

Liv Bargman-DNA
I hear you love Brutalist architecture – what is your favourite Brutalist building and why?
Obvious choice, but I love Ernő Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower (and Trellick Tower) and Bluevale Tower in the East End of Glasgow. They are deeply divisive, pared-down, segmented, geometric, textured designs: terrible social housing was made real in social experiments after the Second World War. I find mid 20th century history fascinating.

Liv Bargman-joyeux noel
What other projects have you got in the pipeline?
An upcoming collaboration with Wild & Wolf in the new year. Tis still a secret.

Read what Liv says about this project here and secure your copy of Dark Matter on my Kickstarter campaign page here.

Categories ,#TWWDNU, ,Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration, ,Balfron Tower, ,Big Bang, ,Bluevale Tower, ,Cosmic Microwave Background, ,Dark Matter, ,Drawn in Bristol, ,illustration, ,illustrator, ,interview, ,Kickstarter, ,Liv Bargman, ,Paper & Cloth, ,science, ,Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, ,Wild & Wolf

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