so often a life can be changed by meeting one person. For me that
person unexpectedly arrived at one of my art openings in 1998. It was a
very Los Angeles affair. I was in a light weight conversation with celeb
guest Henry (The Fonz) Winkler and Candis Bergan when she rolled into
the gallery, A beautiful woman who's grace only seemed enhanced by her
wheelchair. She wore a stunning black dress with a low back. I couldn't
help but notice the long scar that graced her back.
Over time we
had many conversation about our situations. She had fallen from a tree
onto her back while a counselor at a summer camp. Still, she preformed
with a noted dance company and has had many roles on television and on
I had never thought much of my own scars. I had focused
my thought and my art more on the damage done internally to my bones,
but in her case I became focused on the scar. How rods had be inserted
and removed. how each operation on her back left additional marking. How
the scar made visible the exact place her spine had been damaged. Her
scars was not just a marker of her ability but rather a rode map of what
made her life unique. It wasn't just a scar. It was her scar. Something
that no one else had. No only did it make her physically unique but
emotionally. It occurred to me that if I currently had nothing to say
about my medical condition maybe I should make a statement about how I
viewed other people's lives and condition.
Scars mark a turning
point in peoples' lives; sometimes for good but often otherwise. Each
scar comes with a story. Why is it there? Would the person have died
without surgery? How did the "scaring event" effect them emotionally?
Scars can mark entering into or out of a disability. Going from cancer
to health, limited mobility to full movement. They freeze a moment in
time, a car accident or gun shot. These mono-prints, taken directly off
the skin of my model - subjects are portraits of those events that
changed their lives. I accentuate the details of the scar with gouache
and color pencil.
My hope is to turn these lasting monuments, often thought of as unsightly, into things of beauty.