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This is an image of a baby chick running through neurons by artist Dawn Hunter.

Cajal Portfolios

"Time and concentration allow the intellect to perceive a ray of light in the darkness of the most complex problem."

― Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Welcome to the world of Dawn Hunter's art, where life, history, and neuroscience intertwine in a unique exploration of Santiago Ramón y Cajal's life. Through six distinct portfolios, we journey together through a rich tapestry of biographical and introspective works, crafted from a blend of various artistic mediums. Each portfolio echoes a chapter of Cajal's life and Hunter's creative process, highlighting the personal, scientific, and historical layers of Cajal's existence. From recreating his scientific illustrations to retracing his daily walks, and even diving into the philosophical underpinnings of selfies versus self-portraits, Hunter invites us to explore the lesser-known facets of this pioneering neuroscientist. This page serves as an icon menu to these portfolios. Please click on each to explore deeper into the intimate intersection of art and science.

NIH Exhibition

Explore the Dawn Hunter Art® Exhibition at the John Porter Neuroscience Research Center, National Institutes of Health. The showcase features an intricate fusion of art and science, with Dawn Hunter's inspired artwork about Santiago Ramón y Cajal displayed in harmony with the renowned neuroscientist's original scientific drawings, on loan from the Instituto Cajal. Browse through a curated selection of Dawn Hunter's pieces currently on exhibit.

This is a photo of the exhibition case of Cajal's drawings at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

Canopy of Trees

Experience a deeply personal journey through the life and work of the legendary neuroscientist, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, with Dawn Hunter's unique perspective. Explore the human side of Cajal, communicated through his drawings, writings, and teachings, made tangible in Hunter's own artistic exploration. Her intimate project retraces Cajal's footsteps, capturing historical environments from his past and preserving them in her artwork, fostering a bridge between past and present. This exploration is a testament to Cajal's enduring influence on art, science, and personal inspiration.

This is a Plein air painting by artist Dawn Hunter of Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain.

Cajal Inventory

Experience the richly layered 'Cajal Inventory', a collection of Dawn Hunter's biographical drawings and paintings, honoring the life and discoveries of Santiago Ramón y Cajal. The series, comprised of forty-five 11" x 14" works, combines art, history, and neuroscience, and utilizes a variety of materials including graphite, ink, pen, marker, and acrylic. These pieces not only highlight the famed neuroscientist's scientific illustrations and domestic scenes, but also illuminate aspects of his personal life and unique humor. Hunter recreates some of Cajal's lost childhood drawings, includes reflections on her own creative process, and focuses on the complementarity of Cajal's marriage which, she believes, catalyzed his scientific achievements. Each work thus serves as an educational tool and a celebration of Cajal's profound legacy.

This is a photo of artist Dawn Hunter's studio. On her wall is display numerous drawings about Cajal, his science and his life.

The Fulbright Experience

Dawn Hunter's Cajal portfolio, crafted entirely with markers and pen sans preliminary pencil sketches, reflects a unique methodology developed during her Fulbright España Senior Research Fellowship at the Instituto Cajal, Madrid. After closely studying Cajal's own illustrations, she discerned his likely practice of direct ink drawing - a process both pragmatically efficient and philosophically truthful to neuron realism. Hunter's own work, free from erasures and corrections, emulates this approach, offering a testament to the form and content of her project, and illuminating the process of a pioneer in neuroscience.

This is a Fulbright research photo by artist Dawn Hunter of one of her drawings illustrating an original Cajal drawing. Cajal's original drawing is in the photograph.

Personas and Selfies

"Snap" into the fascinating intersection of art, science, and self-representation in Dawn Hunter's exploration of Santiago Ramón y Cajal's photographic legacy. Unlike simple self-portraits, Cajal's images, created with his own photographic plate recipe, can be seen as early 'selfies', reflecting a consistent, self-directed narrative. As a Fulbright España Senior Research Scholar at the Instituto Cajal, Hunter investigated the 'Cajal persona' as captured in these images, uncovering the emotional and symbolic nuances of the man behind the scientist. This page offers a glimpse into those explorations.

This is an illustration by artist Dawn Hunter of a black and white Self-Portrait photo by Cajal. In Dawn Hunter's drawing, she used color to create her work.

Accordion Sketchbook

Dawn Hunter's exploration of Santiago Ramón y Cajal's life began with the crafting of a unique, homemade accordion sketchbook. Inspired by Cajal's biography, she realized her role as an artist could help bring his story to life in a new and meaningful way. Over the past seven years, this project has grown and evolved. This page showcases the initial inspiration and recurring themes drawn directly from Cajal's life, interests, and work, as captured in Hunter's inventive sketchbook.

This is a surreal portrait of Cajal by artist Dawn Hunter. In the drawing Cajal is juxtaposed with pyramidal neurons.
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