Art is subjective, art in a petri dish is just odd. But Missouri microbiologist Melanie Sullivan would be the first to prove you wrong.
In an impressively accurate interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting, Sullivan used bacteria to create visions of swirls, wind, fog, and moonlight.
Sullivan submitted her artwork to the American Society for Microbiology’s first Agar Art contest, a competition inviting microbiologists to get in touch with their cultural sides by exploring the infectious beauty of infectious bacteria, the Huffington Post reports.
As a canvas, each artist used a petri dish filled with agar, a jelly type substance where bacteria live and grow.
“The artist picked the bacteria they wanted to use based on the different color expressed when that strain of bacteria grows,” Emily Dilger, public outreach manager for American Society for Microbiology, told USA TODAY Network.
The winners of the contest were announced in September and works of art included representations of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” as well as numerous originals. There was even an outline of North Carolina created with Chromobacterium violaceum,which is a flesh-eating pathogen, according to American Society of Microbiology.