Why do you make space-themed art?

Art is important for humanity’s engagement with space. Art is a pathway for piquing interest in the cosmos and for inspiring action. To learn more about the intersection of space and art, we spoke to Shireen Dooling, who works as a graphic designer. In her online shop Carbon Night, she creates and sells unique space- or science-themed items – ranging from coffee cups to t-shirts. Shireen tells us more about why she makes space-themed art.

Many of the products in your online shop are space-themed. What made you decide to pursue the space theme?

I’ve always been inspired by science fiction-related pop culture and the cosmos. I love the concept of a vast expanse that has yet to be traveled. It’s exciting and inspiring! I started creating the constellation posters in my shop as a creative outlet when I was working in a toxic environment a few years ago. It was a way of making sure my skills were being utilized to create designs that were meaningful to me. I now have a much better job, one that has allowed me to explore science-design and communication, which has definitely helped me in adding a variety of designs to my shop.

How does the work in your online shop relate to your other professional experience in graphic and multimedia design?

My shop is an extension of what I love designing for: science communication. I am currently a graphic designer and science illustrator for Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute. I believe that making science-related materials relatable to the public is critical work that enables society’s progress forward. My shop is stocked with items for every age group with humorous, educational, or inspirational takes on science. I want to make sure there is a piece of science-inspired merchandise that everyone can relate to. I am also a firm believer in giving back to communities. That is why I donate 30% of all profits made from sales in the shop to conservation causes, STEM mentorship, and refugee efforts.

What advice do you have for individuals with dual interests in art and space?

There is a place for you here! I was intimidated starting out, but the space community is such a kind one. Members of the community encourage figuring out and exploring how to mesh the two interests. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask questions! Designing and creating with space as your inspiration is so much fun. Everyone interested in space should explore art, if they so choose. I can’t wait to see what new ideas space- and science-inspired artists come up with!