When art and science meet

The plant-themed artwork of Ecuadorian-born graphic artist Luis Guallichico, Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecology of the University of Debrecen's Faculty of Science and Technology, has been featured on the blog of British Ecological Society, too. The work of the laboratory assistant of the HUN-REN-UD Functional and Restoration Ecology Research Group has been inspired by the efforts and dedication of the botanists and ecologists making up the group.

The editors of the prestigious Journal of Ecology, founded by the British Ecological Society in 1899, regularly invite submissions for the creation and presentation of ecologically themed artwork. This year, Luis Guallichico responded to the call and submitted his paintings of plants in Hungary, which were duly recognized and appreciated.

He presented three of his pieces of artwork: a mixed media work on the invasive species of sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus) and watercolors of Pilis mountains flax (Linum dolomiticum), a plant native of Hungary, and the spectacularly blossoming orchid called yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus).

“My ecological journey started with active participation in ongoing research focused on the invasive species Sporobolus cryptandrus, threatening grasslands in Hungary’s arid region. This collaboration became an enlightening experience, [as it] awakened my interest in illustrating species diversity through pictorial techniques. Recognizing the species’ dual impact enriched my perspective. Beyond this realization, the journey uncovered the profound inherent beauty of Hungary's flora,” the artist told hirek.unideb.hu about his creative process.

The style and refinement of Luis Guallichico's carefully crafted, realistic paintings are reminiscent of the work of Vera Csapody, a renowned botanist and artist who spent a long life illustrating and drawing the species of flora of her native land.

Luis Guallichico had originally started his career as an artist in Ecuador, and then came into contact with the University of Debrecen through family ties. His wife completed her MSc in Environmental Sciences here and was then accepted to work on her Ph.D. under the supervision of Péter Török, Professor of Ecology at the Faculty of Science and Technology. Luis, his wife and their two daughters settled in Debrecen for good. As time passed, the graphic artist also joined the working group led by Péter Török, and thus came into an even closer contact with plants.

Sr. Guallichico has played a major part in updating and making more efficient the unique national seed collection at the Department of Ecology of the Faculty of Science and Technology of UD, but he has also settled into a routine in the various workflows of ongoing traits data collection. His work is now also used to illustrate posters prepared for conferences and to supervise and curate the collection of photographs for Pannon Flóra Jellegadatbázis (PADAPT) [Pannonian Database of Plant Traits], which is coordinated by the research group he belongs to.

Find the blog post introducing the artists here: https://jecologyblog.com/2024/03/05/the-march-art-gallery

Press Center