Cat Scan
Charlotte Bertsch
Junior, Stamps School of Art & Design



Inspiration was drawn for the general shapes and designs for this print from Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s scientific drawings. Depicted here are the injured neurons of a cat in blue paired with the stages of a skin cell dividing in the warmer toned shapes. Two different printing blocks were used to achieve this division of colors, each block having its own color reduction process. This scientific influence is atypical in my work, but produced such an interesting product, possibly because Ramón y Cajal’s own artistic pursuits helps his scientific renderings appeal to both artists and medical professionals alike.

This piece is a color reduction print using two separate printing blocks. Each block followed its own reduction process, with the floral-like shapes in blue being printed first, followed by the smaller, more geometric orange and red shapes. This process allowed for a more successful division of colors, although the ideation was difficult to imagine how each layer would come together. 

The shapes that are used in the piece are inspired by scientific drawings done by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a Spanish neuroscientist, amongst many other things, who is often cited as being a leader in scientific imagery and drawings. His depictions of the brain were drastically ahead of his time in terms of artistry and attention to detail, largely due to his education at an arts academy prior to entering the medical field (Smith, 2018). 

The images that inspired this print are included below. I took these pictures when viewing an exhibit of Ramón y Cajal’s work, which directly inspired the creation of this print.

This work, Division of a Skin Cell, inspired the orange, yellow, and red tones shapes that I included in the piece. I was drawn to the process of division and capturing those different stages as their own unique elements to the print. 

This piece, Injured Purkinje neurons in a cat, stuck out to me because of the floral-like shapes that felt as though they could easily be found in the natural world through root structures and plants, and yet they were located in the neurons of a cat. 

The combination of the two above images yielded my creation of this print, letting each image become its own printing block so that I could contrast the more geometric shapes of the skin cells and the flowery stems of the cat’s neurons.