Visualizing the Beginning

[Science] deconstructs and reconstructs knowledge and it uncovers beauty, complexity and simplicity just like art.
Visualizing the Beginning
aBiogenesis, Markos R. Kay


The Tree of Life is a popular and universal symbol that represents multiple different things across various cultures and religions. The symbol does not belong to one specific culture as it has been used all over the world for centuries.  

Tree of life crafted in Metepec by the Diaz Family

Mexican Tree of Life is one of the finest pottery in the world, and one of the most popular manifestations of Mexican Folk Art. This type of pottery is called the tree of life because the first and most popular subject depicts the story of the creation of life, according to Genesis in the Bible with characters like God Father, Adam, Eve, the serpent, and many other elements of the story.

Tree of Life, Gustav Klimt
Tree of life on a rhyton from Marlik, Iran, currently at the National Museum of Iran.

The World Turtle, also called the Cosmic Turtle or the World-bearing Turtle, is a mytheme of a giant turtle (or tortoise) supporting or containing the world. It occurs in Hindu mythology, Chinese mythology, and the mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Wikipedia

Jim Oskineegish "Turtle Island"
Michelangelo - Creation of Adam (cropped)
David Hardy, Early Stages of the formation of the Earth


  • The artworks above are as varied as the concepts they represent. Are there any that you are particularly drawn to? Why?
  • Why do you suppose the Tree of Life and Turtle imagery has been used to explain our origins in many cultures?


  • Check out Markos R. Kay's conceptual reimagining of the “lipid world”.
  • Read an interview with Artist, Markos R. Kay from Sciencemotionology.
  • Play in your sketchbook with some ideas about the formation of life. What shapes and colors make sense to use?


Markos R. Kay

Kay is a digital artist, creative director, illustrator, and lecturer with a focus on art and science. His work can be described as an ongoing abstraction and digitization of the mysterious worlds of molecular biology and particle physics through a series of generative simulation experiments.

Freelance Creative Director, Designer, Illustrator, and University lecturer

Coming from a traditional fine art background, he first became fascinated with digital generative art and its intersection with natural sciences during his Masters at Central St. Martins. His work deals with themes of emergence, evolution, and complexity. He has industry experience in design having directed idents, ads, branding, and graphics for major broadcast, retail, and design companies. He has also directed large-scale projection mapping events as well as audiovisual and interactive installations. (Sciencemotionology)