Department of Good Energy
January 8, 2020 9:17 AM   Subscribe

From 1967 to 1998, Fermilab employed Angela Gonzales as staff artist. Her output includes not only the lab's logo and color scheme, but a wealth of gorgeously detailed pen-and-ink illustration, by turns mystical, psychedelic, and surreal. Another gallery of her work.
posted by theodolite (10 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I really like some of the prints. Considering the content, the balance between otherworldliness, trippiness, nerdiness and intrinsic terror is really remarkable. There are also a fair amount of pleasant surprises, like this print of prairie flora.
posted by Alison at 9:31 AM on January 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

These are powerfully, powerfully rad. Is there anywhere to buy prints?
posted by saladin at 9:54 AM on January 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

Thank you so much for this.
posted by panhopticon at 10:17 AM on January 8, 2020

I was wondering what was up with the bison and prairie elements in the graphics.
posted by larrybob at 10:21 AM on January 8, 2020

this is the best of the old metafilter
posted by growabrain at 10:22 AM on January 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wow, I am stunned. Why was she never taught about? Where's her retrospectives? Her documentary? She should be famous for designing the logo alone. Tell me how Massimo Vignelli or Paul Rand are more deserving of their fame? I mean, the careers are practically the same. Art directors designing for a public-facing industry for several decades.

Here's a writeup about her that expands on how her view and direction affected the way the lab was run, and the very walls of the building itself. A book excerpt can be read here that credits her to contributing defining architectural characteristics to some of their buildings. It is no exaggeration to say that the success and longevity of the Fermi lab is due in part to her strong, cohesive and lively art direction. Apparently she passed this past October, and just like that a cutltural cornerstone is gone unnoticed.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:35 AM on January 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

She died October 20, 2015.
posted by bz at 12:55 PM on January 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was wondering what was up with the bison and prairie elements in the graphics.

larrybob, are you still wondering? I worked at Fermilab in the early 2000s. The main accelerator is basically a large ring, with a lot of empty space in the middle of it. There's a prairie restoration and a herd of bison that live there. When I went out for my first job interview it was in the middle of winter, and driving up the long access road I thought I was in a different world - all the high-tech buildings and power lines and transformers as I expected, but also an old wooden building with a sign that read "Antiproton Barn", and these enormous bison standing in the snow, with clouds of steam billowing out of their nostrils. It was really incredible, and all I could think was "I really want to work here!"
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:48 AM on January 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

This is so absolutelly gorgeous.
posted by BruxoPimba at 6:38 AM on January 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Amazing stuff, thank you! like 20 years ago I'd have printed all of these out and wall papered my computer room with them. I may still print one or two if I can't buy them somewhere.
posted by some loser at 6:58 AM on January 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

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