Venturing to understand how the small scale influences the large; hierarchies- how the atomic & nano leads to macro. From the scale of light, droplets, and cities, to celestial bodies.

Onye has spent the past 13 years living around the US (Los Angeles, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Boston and now New York City), exploring and learning from all that that is available. His artistic origins are rooted in drawing from childhood, over the decades he grew into painting before entering the world of photography. This combined background is evident in the forms of composition, abstraction, materiality and subtlety, which has codified into the approach and process seen in his work. Classically trained in the Sciences & Engineering, receiving a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Material Science & Engineering from University of California Irvine. After-which, he earned a M.S.E. in Material Science & Engineering from University of Michigan, with a focus on product development, emerging technologies, and fabrication techniques. Something of an analogous learner who’s knowledge and experience bridges many fields, perfect for the multidisciplinary, biologically inspired R&D at Harvard University's Wyss Institute.

"layers of detail can be discovered through scientific observation at varying scales; exploration of architected materiality."

With the common denominator of observation, characterization and iterative experimentation, experience in Science, Engineering and Art is drawn upon to explore a multitude of subjects. These include: fabrication processes, technology development, biological design principles, visualization, and subtlety of nature (be it time, form or texture). In many cases layers of detail can be discovered through scientific observations at varying scales; exploration of architected materiality. Exploration and questioning at different scales, from the big picture to small details, hierarchical effects are revealed.


Onye is drawn to the activities at the interface of fields, where under explored ideas and concepts are often found. In the case of natural phenomena- physics, chemistry and biology build off of each other to explain and provide insight. At the points where Art & Engineering meet, complex interactions can reveal themselves in visually stunning ways and art can push processes, techniques and concepts which can later be used in Engineering. From properties of engineered surfaces, spontanous pattern formation, biological structures, or architectural uses of origami, the interplay of art and science has been and will continue to be a synergistic combination. Art, formed through observation, begets visualization and visualization changes our perspective of the world. In Science, one cannot begin to understand or explain something until one can observe and visualize.

Discussions at the 2017 Advanced Research Programs Agency- Energy (ARPA-E) Innovation Summit technology showcase

(courtesy of event photographer)

© 2020 by Onye Ahanotu

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