Brushes with Cancer
Last winter I was approached to work on an art project to help raise awareness and funds for Twist Out Cancer, Immerman Angels and Ethan Zhon. Various artists were paired with cancer survivors in order to create a relational connection that would result in an art piece that described the survivor’s story, a piece that would be auctioned off at the fundraising event.
Meet Alana, my beautiful inspiration.
These final five pieces from her story were printed on metal and mounted as a collage, as pictured above.
You can read Alana’s story in her own words here.
Alana and I first met up for dinner at Lily Q‘s, which of course I recommend if you like BBQ and happen to be from Texas, two things Alana and I quickly found out we had in common! When Alana walked in the door it was far from what I expected. I hate to admit it, but when I hear “cancer survivor” I expect to see someone with a thin frail body, colorless cheeks, possibly no hair, very short hair, if not a wig.
Alana strolled in, strong and sexy with a big Texas smile and hair that would shame Farrah Fawcett.
I had made it a point not to “research” her story too much before meeting, so that I would be able to have a real conversation that wasn’t based on assumptions of what I had read. As I asked questions and she shared her story, I jotted notes of things that stuck in my mind.
The image on the left represents Alana’s first encounters with cancer; helping loved ones through chemo. Loving them. Losing them.
The center image was her first personal brush with cancer. She was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. The ink traces her first scar. After going through treatment and cleansing her body of this cancer, she soon discovered she had advanced melanoma.
The top image represents the dyes they used to find all the melanoma on her back before removing it and leaving her body with even more scars.
Young, beautiful and embarrassed by her scars, Alana struggled to grow through this challenge by embracing her scars (bottom image) and fighting for a life worth living. She became a body builder, and even complained to photographers who photoshopped out her scars. To Alana, the scars symbolized triumph. Success. Life. All the things that make her even more beautiful than her perfect features, charming smile, and bombshell hair. She was scarred. But it was for life.
The final image, on the right, expresses the beautiful, empowered, confident woman that arose from this trial.
I love you Alana, and I can never thank you enough for letting me so close.
Below are images from the Brushes With Cancer event held at the Floating World Gallery.
So many artists and survivors paired up to raise funds and awareness!
Below, on the left, is my beautiful model, seeing her story for the first time through my eyes as a huge metal print display.
It was a hugely successful event and ended with much twisting of the hips with music by DJ. Ben Swislow and Palter Ego!