Welcome on my website,
My name is Rozan Vroman and from a very young age, much to the amusement of my parents and peers, I’ve always been fascinated by nature and how things work. Since I was young I tried to capture these interests through paint, drawing and music, but satisfying all of these interests turned out to be quite a challenge. Through my science and art career, via the University of Amsterdam/Gerrit Rietveld Academie/Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences my focus became neuroscience, which in turn became a primary inspiration for much of my art and designs. To share my passion, I decided to design a website to show my work in the hope that it captures people’s interest and imagination.
Most of what you find on this website has either a direct link to neuroscience or is inspired by it, with a particular focus on image processing. Many images depict neurons (brain cells) or other biological structures, some images are scientific schematics made for illustration of key concepts, while others are more abstract. During my time in the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Sussex I taught myself computer programming. While this was initially for scientific purposes, I have since turned it into a medium for art that compliments my painting, drawing and digital designs. As some of my work represents natural structures or utilised complex processes I have included intuitive description alongside more technical explanations. There are several algorithms I designed that make use of images/photos as input and then turn them into digital images or digital paintings. The idea behind this is that people can provide their own photos for me to turn them into an original digital artwork that holds personal meaning to them.
As I have a passion for landscapes I took up photography while we were living in Brighton to serve as inspiration to paint from. I was amazed at how my new photo camera captured the colours and soon the photography had turned into a medium of its own for me. So you will also find photographs on the website, not just of landscapes, but, as I love biology, I have captured some really beautiful animals and insects, for example.
Another type of work you’ll find on this website is my Box Project. This began a few years ago when I started to get frustrated by the number of cardboard boxes that came into work and our home via online orders, generating a large amount of waste. I noticed however, that some of these boxes, the types that don’t need glue, have very interesting shapes when folded open. This struck me both as a great canvas to work from and an original medium, so I started to paint landscapes in them from photos that reminded me of nice times I’d had hiking in the UK, from the highlands of Scotland, through the Lake District and to the South Downs in England. I liked the unique shapes and positive up-cycling message, and so I had the idea to do the same for other people. The process is as follows: Someone sends me a picture of a landscape that has a special memory attached to them. The receive back a pre-used sealed empty box that upon opening reveals an impressionist painting of their special memory inside.
I hope you will find my website and works interesting and fun, and if you’re interested in a print of any of the works or if you want me to make you a personal box or algorithm painting, please send me an email with your request.
Rozan Vroman, January 2019
About my career in neuroscience
I grew up and studies in the Netherlands, in my home town of Amsterdam. My science career began with a BSc Honours degree in the Bio-Exact sciences, before moving on to undertake an MSc and PhD in Neuroscience at the Royal Institute for Art & Science. My chosen topic for my PhD was the goldfish retina. The retina is the layers of cells at the back of the eye that pick up the image of the outside world, process it and then send it to the central nervous system (the brain) via the optic nerve. We now realise that the retina is actually part of the brain, and that the signals it sends out are already broken down into many different components. These components undergo further, and more substantial, processing further down the line as both we humans and fish heavily base our decisions on the visual input. After finishing my PhD my partner, also a neuroscientist, found a postdoctoral position in Dundee for a few months, so we moved there. I really enjoyed Scotland and as my partner is originally from Glasgow, I started to entertain the idea of making Glasgow my home. While this would eventually happen, we made a wee detour via Brighton. After studying visual processing in the retina, I wanted to focus on what happens to the signal from the retina when it enters the primary visual cortex, which is one of the very first brain regions that process visual information. It was in Brighton, in the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, where I found a position that made it possible for me to study exactly that. The research was this time in mice, instead of fish. By making use of some very sophisticated techniques, that I found rather cool, and a special laser microscope (2-photon) I could see inside the mouse’s brain while the mouse was awake and sitting on a ball so that he could walk or run whenever he wanted. When we decided to make the move to Glasgow I started a postdoctoral position studying how connections between different brain areas are processed and integrated.