Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

The Cochlea in Art: Richard Kirk

Although I don’t care much about money, I do regret that having none means that buying beautiful works of art is something that I cannot do. I occasionally post here about interesting science/naturalism-inspired art, and a new artist I wanted to highlight is Richard Kirk. A friend of mine showed me his work because one of his pieces is entitled “Cochlea” (below). I was floored at the intricacy of his work, as well as the juxtaposition of precise medical realism (like the cochlea + vestibular system in the lower right corner) and absurd surrealism (the pulleys as joints, branches for limbs).

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Be sure to check out Kirk’s gallery here, another one of my favorites of his is Conflagration.
Hat tip darkman.


  1. #1 Snowcrash
    January 13, 2008

    Extraordinary! Thanks for posting this. You have an outstanding science blog by the way

  2. #2 Shelley Batts
    January 13, 2008

    Thank you! Glad you like it! ^_^

  3. #3 Ian
    January 13, 2008

    That’s a really cool piece. I like how the right arm’s fingers are just short of batlike, while the left is more of a tree. Interesting that he named it “Cochlea” since the cochlea is so removed from the rest of it. Neat. Thanks for posting it.

  4. #4 justin(pusha)
    January 13, 2008

    Very dark and detail oriented. I like it!

  5. #5 Tritc
    January 13, 2008

    Amazing talent. I wish I could buy it for you Shelley, but I too am financially-challenged. 🙂

  6. #6 The Flying Trilobite
    January 14, 2008

    Nice and weird, the way I like ’em.

    Very well done.

  7. #7 Richard Kirk
    January 15, 2008

    Hi Shelley – thanks for paying me such a lovely compliment. I really enjoyed reading your blog post.

    Cochlea came out of my experience of losing hearing in one ear as a kid and subsequent tinnitus. I wanted to deal with that in a visual way – hence the creature embedded in the head. I also loved the way the anatomical structure suggested a mollusk of some sort. I find these kind of strange echoes all over in nature.

    The original of this work is owned by Jonathan Davis, the frontman for the band Korn. It was this piece that introduced Jonathan to my work and eventually led to me doing the cover for the latest Korn album.

    Again, thanks for the nod and I will be sure to follow your fascinating blog. Cheers, Richard.

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