Posts tagged Realization
The intersection of art, science, neurotechnology, and disease
celebration, solar etching, 2010 (angiogram of mark-s brain).jpg
valentine, solar etching, 2010 (coronal view of the brain stem, cerebellum, and lateral ventricles).jpg
neuroplasticity (digital collage of hand-pulled prints and mris of my brain).jpg
emerging, solar etching, 2009 (coronal view of the neo-cortex).jpg

I am an artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in the intersection of art and science. I focus on brain scans, particularly MRIs, because I consider them one of the primary symbols of Multiple Sclerosis. Since my diagnosis of MS, I have continually undergone brain scans to track the progression of my disease. Initially the sterile black and white images of the MRIs of my brain were terrifying, and I refused to look at them. I began using my art practice to reinterpret these frightening yet mesmerizing images. I seek to disrupt the unsightliness of these digital images, inviting the viewers to stare directly at the beauty and complexity of the imperfect brain.

My diagnosis has allowed me to integrate neurotechnology into my artwork. Through printmaking, mixed media, and textiles I transform my scan into vibrant landscapes in hopes of challenging how society views illness. I create with the intent of transforming how people view the imperfect body, allowing room for celebration, curiosity, and fascination.

My artwork has been displayed in permanent collection at various institutions, universities, and hospitals throughout the country. My heart remains rooted in the narrative of illness. I am now trying my hand at art and design in the clinical setting.

I have been inspired by the power artwork can have to broaden and deepen the narrative around chronic illness. This is the core of my mission, to create artwork that encourages social engagement and spurs conversations. My vision for several upcoming projects combines patient—centered design strategies, evocative artwork, and powerful narratives. I am currently exploring how art, storytelling and technology can be used to revolutionize the untapped potential of time spent in waiting rooms of clinics.

At some point in our lives, we all become patients and are challenged with accepting illness as a part of being human. Chronic disease is an ongoing natural disaster of the body, where the tsunami is a never-ending undulation of change. This disaster leaves in its wake a real sense of fear, isolation and heightened awareness of the fragility of one's body. Many illnesses that are depicted in the media have a narrative that has a beginning, middle and end—a flowing arc to the story. But most illnesses, especially those that are chronic, lack an arc or even a narrative that makes sense to the outsider. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, lonely, or diminishing. I create with the intent to transform this experience and use a medium that fosters connections and conversation. In doing so I aim to open up people’s eyes to see the unique perspectives gained through living with disease.

Surviving Domestic Violence

At 44, Karin had a successful career and three nearly-grown children. Then, in 2004, she began a relationship that at first felt dreamy but slowly deteriorated. Eventually, Karin found herself in a position she never imagined: as the victim of domestic violence. Initially, her partner seemed lovely. He was a respected member of her community, well known for his dedication to volunteer work and he was amazingly attentive and romantic. 

Over time, though, the relationship changed. It was a gradual progression spanning four years, starting with emotional and psychological abuse, and eventually escalating to physical abuse.

Here, Karin bravely shares her story of surviving domestic violence.

It’s a narrative that illustrates how insidious this process can be, and how difficult it is to get out of such relationships. As a survivor, Karin has struggled with her own shame and the guilt she feels for exposing her children to this situation. Today, after a lot of hard work and self-reflection, Karin feels stronger than ever. “I was determined to come out of this kicking,” she said. “And I have.” She has a great job and volunteers for a domestic violence prevention organization; her grown children are doing well and she is newly married. Karin’s story is a reminder that this could happen to any of us, and underscores the importance of trusting your own instinct about what feels right and what feels wrong in a relationship.

Domestic violence, defined by the United States Department of Justice “as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner” permeates our culture. It is estimated that at least 1 in 4 women in the United states will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and while both men and women can be targeted, the victim is female 85-95% of the time. Domestic violence occurs across all races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations and religions. Abuse, based on fear and intimidation, can be physical, emotional, psychological, economic, and/or sexual.

On a societal level, the costs of domestic violence are tremendous. Health related costs alone are estimated to exceed $5.8 billion annually. As in Karin’s case, domestic violence typically escalates over time. Homicide is often the end result. It is believed that 33% of all female murder victims are killed by in intimate partner. For the most part, these homicides are predictable and preventable. By educating ourselves about the issue, we can all become a part of the solution.

Most importantly, Karin wants everyone to know that resources are available. If you have any concerns, seek help.

Originally published on WBUR Commonhealth Blog, October 12, 2012


For information, services and help for yourself or someone you care about:

The Domestic Violence Services Network, Inc. 1-888-399-6111

1-877-785-2020 is a 24-hour, free and confidential multi-lingual domestic violence hotline in Massachusetts

To find the domestic violence program nearest you outside of Massachusetts, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233).

To learn more about domestic violence and sexual assault, visit

To find programs that help people who abuse/control their partners, visit