Edward Belbruno Talks About His Career As An Artist And Scientist

You've been well-known for your contributions to chaos theory for quite some time, but there's been a shift in the circles in which your name is discussed of late. These days, you're a topic of interest at art galleries and to private collectors. Could you explain to readers how you’ve come about putting together your professional life as a mathematician and artist?

I first started doing oil painting at seven years old — it just came naturally. Ever since I started painting, I knew on some level I would always be doing it. In the first couple of years of college, math came easy to me and I found that it was a safe field to pursue; I knew it could be used to make a steady income. So, I decided in my senior year of college to continue painting – but more in the background until I could build a math career, and then when the math career was bringing in steady money, I would pursue building my painting career more seriously.  The recognition of my artwork as grown over the years — and now the demand for it matches that of my work in mathematics and chaos applications to space travel. Since my paintings seem to have an other-worldly sense to them, they seem to fit naturally with my space related work. However, I need to keep these careers separate since they are handled totally differently. For instance, my art is done when I am in a state where I don’t think; I let my intuitive powers guide me. On the other hand, the space-related work requires mainly thinking in a forced manner.

You’ve had solo exhibitions all around the world, and your most recent platform is New York City. Is New York City the peculiar beast that people say it is? How has your experience there been unique?

New York City is the center of the art world, among many other things, and because of that it has a well-developed art industry. To break into that in a significant way, you must be doing very high quality work. If you do, then people will be interested in what you are doing and opportunities will naturally occur.  With my unique background, I have found that interesting opportunities have come my way that other artists would not necessarily obtain. For example, a couple of years ago, The Metropolitan Opera House was showing the opera Dr. Atomic, which is about the development of the atomic bomb. Because of my knowledge of physics, I was invited to both show my art at Lincoln Center in a solo show and also to discuss atomic physics. I was also featured in NPR’s nationally syndicated show, Studio 360, a year ago because of the interest in both my space work and my art.  Those are just a couple of examples.

Tell me about your next show.

I have an upcoming solo show at the prestigious Gallery 61 of New York Institute of Technology, which opens on March 31. I’ll be showing 30 new paintings in a new series I am very excited about and that has quickly gained a lot of interest. The gallery is located near Columbus Circle.  This show has come about due to the school’s interest in both my science and art. Before the show I will be giving a lecture on my work in art and science. More information about the exhibition and lecture may be found at: www.nyit.edu/belbruno.

Do you forsee art being a full time job? Is it something for which you would give up your math/science career?

Painting and math/science are two distinct parts of myself. It would be difficult to give up the math/science. However, one never knows the chaotic roads their lives may go.

Photo credit: Linda Gambone