Sophia Sperduto is an artist working primarily with 2D materials like graphite, photography, pastels, and watercolor paints. She loves spending time outdoors; hiking, camping, and birdwatching. She always looks to nature as inspiration for her art, describing the connection between people and nature, and bringing awareness to the beautiful world all around us.
"My art is often inspired by nature, especially wildlife. This summer specifically, I am drawing inspiration from my experiences living and working in the Northwoods; spending time outdoors and learning from the researchers at Trout Lake Station."
My work is about connection: bringing people closer to each other and to the natural world around them. Influenced by both science and art, my work in each field is strengthened by skills I've learned in the other.
My recent work has explored my personal relationship to the natural world, drawing on my summer experiences living and working at Trout Lake Station, a limnology field research station in the Wisconsin Northwoods. The relationships I built with the people, plants, and landscapes that surrounded me there have strongly influenced my impression of the outdoors.
Limnologists research subjects related to lakes and rivers, so it makes sense that my coworkers’ lives are deeply intertwined with the natural world. By hiking and working with them, hearing their stories and their passion for their research, I came to better understand and appreciate the world around me. Joining researchers on the same lakes each week was an opportunity to get very familiar with plants that grew there, like spatterdock and sumac. I was able to engage with the natural world through my oil paintings as well, by painting plein air. I’d hike to lakes and rivers, set up an easel, and start a conversation with my surroundings. Each session was a period of intense focus and deep, meaningful engagement with the place I was in. The process of making this work strengthened my connection to the people and the place I was in. It’s my hope that your encounter with my work does the same, bringing you closer to the natural and human life around you.
Equal parts comic artist and microbiologist, my scientific interests deeply influence my art, and vice-versa. My interests in geology, biology, and chemistry have led me to develop a fascination with the ideas of biogeochemical cycling, the water cycle, and the concept of geologic time. My artistic appreciations for color and light have similarly prompted my academic interest in the vibrant biofilms of iron-oxidizing bacteria and the properties of thin-film interference.
My current work, "To Whom I Owe Water", admires the hydrologic cycle, celebrates the women conservationists who have protected and cared for this water on its journey, and reflects on my experiences in the Northwoods of Wisconsin as a field biologist and intern at Trout Lake field station in the Summer of 2019.
I’d always loved art and writing, and was very interested in science, but I never really thought I could unite those two passions until my summer at Trout Lake Station. Witnessing the art and writing being created by the Communications Intern and the Artists in Residences showed me how I could connect the two and certainly inspired me to pursue science communication.
Buskirk’s experience at TLS continues to expand and grow, as she has also founded the Flow Microgrant through the Center for Humanities and Water@UW-Madison, which is further encouraging science and art partnerships by pairing undergraduate artists with water researchers across the UW