Okko Alitalo is the second of two artists participating in Art Meets Science who is also a research scientist.
Okko is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Pharmacy where he is conducting research into antidepressant therapies. Alongside his research activities, Okko is a keen artist and shares his reasoning for joining Art Meets Science: “I am interested in science communication, and making science more approachable through art is a great way to achieve this. Science is more than just numbers and statistics; coming up with new ideas and planning experiments requires as much creativity as creating art. Similarly, both science and art require consecutive rounds of iteration and experimentation”.
Through his participation in Art Meets Science, Okko has not only created a piece by which he can share his research, but he has also acquired an array of new techniques and learnt a great deal about himself in the process. Okko goes on to explain “I’ve been working on this project for almost a year now, almost daily since summer 2021, so I’m excited to present this to the public and share with my family and friends why I haven’t had a life in a long time! During that time however, I have learnt a lot about the physical properties of various materials and used a number of fancy tools including the largest laser I could find in Helsinki to engrave the acrylic in my piece. In addition to this, I used a light-absorbing resin from a Japanese optics company that absorbs 99.4% of visible light to paint the black neurons in my piece. More recently, I have milled the frame for the piece from Finnish pine which has been equally cool!”.
Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Okko reflects on his previous exhibition, “Okkoltism & Dark Arts”, a Perttu Häkkinen Foundation-supported tour that was cut short due to the onset of the pandemic. With that in mind, Okko states that he is “looking forward to exhibiting his work again and sharing it with the public.”