progress and developing work

Below is the map that features all of the participating cities in this project.  Updated bimonthly.  

Project Progress  

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Workshops Held: 7
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Pieces Created: 10
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Online Interviews: 600
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Community Partners: 16
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In-Person Interviews: 11
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People Supported: 700
Drawings Based on Digital Histiopathology Images

"Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells"
Ink, Pencil, Archival Paper

2' x 3'

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for about 10-15%  of all breast cancers. The term triple-negative breast cancer refers to the fact that the cancer cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors and also don’t make too much of the protein called HER2. (The cells test "negative" on all 3 tests.) These cancers tend to be more common in women younger than age 40, who are African-American, or who have a BRCA1 mutation.

Triple-negative breast cancer differs from other types of invasive breast cancer in that they grow and spread faster, have limited treatment options, and a worse prognosis (outcome).

Drawing based on a digital histopathology image of triple negative breast cancer. The staining of the histiochemical with the breast cancer cells gives a pink, red, or purple color. 
 

Triple Negative Breast Cancer cells - Br

"Scars"  (series of three) 
Archival Watercolor Paper

Watercolor Paint

Embroidery Floss

2' x 3'  with all three, this work spans nine feet  

This piece bleeds.  It is uncomfortable.  Layering stripes of watercolor in gray, black, pink, red, and later purple.  It represents the emotional and physical wounds and scars of breast cancer.  The bruising, the healing, the grief, and the pain.  

This work is 30 layers of watercolor paint, dripped down, and interwoven together.  I asked breast cancer patients to share images of their recovery photos and am stitching their scars into the next two pieces.  This piece, below, is of my scars in various stages of healing.  I took many photos of my healing and could see the lines of my body changed.  Deep reds, and blacks, and rose-colored, pinks, and white, scars and healing comes in many shades.  

The work that will come next will be representations of people's stories, experiences, physical and emotional scars.  The lines stitched and sewn in are exact lines from women all over the country.  The lines are true.  The lines share their stories and the lines share mine.  

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"Postcards"  (ongoing series) 
Archival Paper

4" x 5" each, 50 different images,  200 postcards printed in total.  

Let us consider cancer like a land.  Just like any move to a new land, there is a new language to learn, new people to meet, new landscapes to explore.  

The purpose of a postcard is to send a message and a picture from where you are, to someone else.  Cancer patients are in this land, and try as they might, family and friends and well-wishers can't understand completely.  A postcard is to say "I'm here.  This is what my world looks like.  This is how I'm doing." 

In the interviews, I asked people many questions, including "If your gene or cancer was an object, what would it be?" The answers informed this work, as I would photograph the real objects very close, abstracting them.  Objects appear like landscapes - postcard places of where they are.  Their descriptions are written on the back, to share the place and the feeling.  


This postcard piece is “exhibited” or shared on two postcard stands, similar to ones seen in souvenir shops. These stands are filled with postcards. Gallery participants are invited to pick up, read and engage with, the postcards, and even take them home if they wish. 

Answers have included:  

"I see my cancer as a gelatinous blob." 

"My cancer is a time bomb." 

"It would be a gloomy haze that envelopes me that never leaves."

"Like a laser. Provided a discrete focus on action and a clear path of that action. It's a really bright laser, though, that makes it hard to see or focus on anything else while it's enabled."

"My gene is a bomb. A bomb that looks like a monster.  Just ticking away.  Sometimes speeding up, sometimes slowing down. Just to trick and mess with the person its inside of."