Ivan Voltski

Artist statement

My art is focused on the representation of natural forms occurring in diverse marine biota, primarily microbial eukaryotes (protists). Important part of it is driven by scientific work in the field of taxonomy of benthic foraminifera. Within this large group, deep-sea taxa, e.g. xenophyophores and bizarre monothalamids like Vanhoeffenella or Bathysiphon, are outstanding in many ways. From an artistic perspective, this realm unfolds in a rich spectrum of morphological forms which are deeply rooted in evolution and intimately linked to biological functions.
In my student years, influenced by practical courses in zoology, my preferred medium was mostly ink on paper; later on I gradually began exploring other techniques and expanding towards incorporation of colour by means of markers, paints, or computer graphics. One of the main aspects I try to keep in mind while making artworks is the in-depth study and precise rendering of morphology. The long tradition of zoological drawing and the rich legacy of past illustrations form the basis for this, while the advent of modern technology provides new, enhanced ways of seeing and opportunities to augment the ‘classical’ approach.
However, equally important is the attempt to capture the transient, elusive condition, inherent to the object or scene at the time of encountering it or finding myself in it, and reflect its instantaneous translation into the emotional space, or perhaps, reflect yourself being translated to somewhere beyond the human domain. Here, the oceanic environment itself, as perceived by humans living / working at sea and collecting scientific data, resonates strongly with my vision, which is reflected through generation of abstract wave patterns and seascape photography.
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Currently, I am looking for ways of combining research and contemporary art in my career. I became an ‘artist member’ of the Deep-Sea Biology Society in 2023.


  • The Fondation Paul Brönnimann provides support to young Foraminifera enthusiasts: see Ivan’s page there.
  • Follow Ivan on Instagram here

Xenophyophore Syringammina limosa from Voltski et al. (2018) paper:

Syringammina limosa
Syringammina limosa sp. nov. (Voltski, Weiner et al. 2018), a xenophyophore from the deep Kurile Basin of the Sea of Okhotsk.

Posts about Ivan’s works soon!