Ivan Voltski

Artist statement

My art is focused on the representation of natural forms occurring in diverse marine biota, primarily microbial eukaryotes (=protists) including the group called the Foraminifera, which are the scope of my scientific work. From artistic perspective, this realm provides the source of infinite variation of morphological forms, which are, however, deeply rooted in evolution and intimately linked to biological function.
Also, works displaying some other, more distant subjects (e.g. floral & cloud patterns, waveforms, abstractions) will also appear here. Although it might seem a distraction, blurring the main theme and confusing the viewer, many of them provide a wider context, pointing to natural processes which depend upon or are associated with a multitude of minute lifeforms, but are in turn driven by their own complex dynamics.
My preferred medium is mostly ink on paper, but I am gradually exploring other techniques and expanding towards the greater incorporation of color 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 & detail. However, equally important is the attempt to capture a transient, elusive condition, inherent to the object / scape at specific time of meeting it or finding myself in it, translating it into the emotional space. 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 the opportunities to augment the ‘classical’ approach.


  • 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!