David Bolinsky

david_bolinsky_mdDavid was privileged that his dad, a sublime sculptor, painter and art historian was his muse, cheerleader and personal docent at the best examples of art and architecture in Europe and North America. In an odd way, the most significant of those was a rare, sadly no longer possible, trek through the 15,000 year-old caves of Lascaux in southern France. There he witnessed “the gift of combining ardent observation with the arduous invention of the technology and tools essential to implement humanity’s first cathedral to sophisticated visual communication.” That visit set his current course and, at ten years old, his sights high.

Electronic visual technology has dramatically advanced the way we express and comprehend knowledge; the great migration of information into visual media in the past three decades, in games and special effects, from 30 second ads to feature films, has made the general population visually sophisticated and capable of processing complex information to an unprecedented degree.

The visual vocabulary that people have absorbed and utilize as second nature today enables the science community to have an access port for teaching that simply did not exist 20 years ago. The progression of human understanding based on moving images is especially significant for medical and sciencecommunication. Complex time-and-motion-dependent concepts with moving parts on many levels of magnification, almost impossible to convey through text or static images alone, have become routine, and interactivity adds an order of magnitude to comprehension.

In 2005 David co-produced and was medical creative director on ‘The Inner Life of the Cell’, first in a series of animations for Harvard’s Molecular and Cellular Biology Department. Building on that innovative approach to visualizing molecular anatomy, his current work often involves partnering, to enhance his ability to implement his own ardent observations. As CEO and Creative Director of e*mersion studio, David’s partnership with the new Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University involves creating interactive apps for medical students, to bring complex medical and clinical subjects to life. His partnership with Smart Sparrow, with whom he shares a significant education foundation grant, will reimagine interactive, adaptive science education for the nation’s community colleges.

So, while some “gray hairs” lament that the visually inundated younger generation has lost the ability to tell stories, David sees just the opposite. He hearkens back to the blank-slate cave paintings of Lascaux, and remains convinced that none of our storytelling ability is ever lost; it is just enhanced with each new medium that comes along.

Bolinsky has been a speaker at TED and TED India, and has guest-lectured at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Cambridge, Singularity and other universities, at museums and major conferences worldwide.

David Bolinsky has an Association of Medical illustrators-accredited degree in Medical illustration from Ohio State University (1974), and held a faculty position at Michigan State University creating illustrations for MSU’s Human and Veterinary medical schools before enrolling in medical school at MSU in 1978. He left medical school to accept a surprise job offer of Senior Medical Illustrator at the Yale School of Medicine in 1981. In 1984, he founded Advanced Imaging, the first digital medical animation company in the world.


David Bolinsky Speaks: