2024 People’s Choice Award – Kierstynn Lepper

Two Halves, One Whole


Oil Paint, Micron Pen, and watercolor paint


Everyone we come across in this lifetime has their own personality, this is due to the side of the brain which is more active. One friend resides to the left with equations and logical reasoning, the other lives next door to the right. Rather than pushing away to find more alike people they still love each other and form a whole. Through the use of layering ink, watercolor, and oil paints I created this piece. Though different the girls still need each other to survive. Just as the brain needs a left and right, and the world needs logic and emotion. Two Halves. One whole. Science in art.

The scientific concept my piece represents is the different sides of the brain. I have always been intrigued by the idea that people have a more dominant side of their brain. For example left -brained individuals may find themselves more analytical, methodical, and logical, while those who resonate with the right-brains tend to be more artsy, creative, and emotional. A neuroscience study in the 1960’s is what concluded this concept, so it’s been around for awhile, yet it never became really prominent in my life until this year. For a little backstory on my piece, coming to UofM I got very lucky and the first girl I met instantly became my best friend. The interesting part is that we are completely different. I am currently an art major at Stamps, I love all things colorful and creative, and I tend to live in a bit of organized clutter. My friend is a triple major in Physics, Astrophysics, and Math through LSA, her favorite color is beige, and if you were to see her room it is so clean and minimalistic. These are just a few of our opposing traits. So different yet I have never clicked with someone on such an emotional level in my life. Since the day we met we say she is the left brain, I am the right brain, and together we work as a whole! So, that is what sparked the inspiration for the project and my want to learn more about the sides of the brain. Now, how did I represent that in my art? I actually had an old piece of scrap paper which I once used as an oil paint pallet, when I eventually folded it up to throw out I noticed the paint blobs almost looked like a brain, I had to save it, it was too cool. Coming to this project it clicked for what I needed to use this brain for. With the semi 3D color brain and my favorite thing being portraits, I created two female characters, very inspired by me and my friend. One who is a scientist and one who is an artist. They were made on watercolor paper with a micron pen and watercolor paint to give them a subtle contrast to the bright focal brain. They were built to represent the brain’s halves in human forms. I then decorated the outside of the page half in equations for analytical thoughts the other in swirls of color for creativity. I then stuck the characters to the page on their designated side. They, like the brain, also have a 3D feel. The literal thoughts of the brain are very subtle in the background, while the girls and the brain pop out being the main focus. I think it all really perfectly came together, it’s bright, colorful, and joyful but still very thought provoking. It’s the perfect representation of Science as Art, not only in the literal sense of the piece and prompt but also the concept of the way science and art work together to form a whole brain.