I worked as a registered nurse, caring for geriatric patients who were either
living in nursing homes, or poverty level patients on Medicaid receiving
long term care at home.
Working with these patients has had a profound effect on my vision as an artist.
I witnessed their limitations--their inability to perform basic tasks,
care or think for themselves, whether due to dementia, disease, or age.
They were trapped physically or mentally, and at times reduced to a shell
or resemblance of what I know to be human. Their withdrawal was so profound
that they appeared to me as creatures, having lost a sense of self and dignity.
The human condition, stripped down to its bare bones.
Some patients, whether they embraced, accepted, or denied mortality,
had a will to survive and needed very little, just the relationships they had,
which at times was only an aide or visiting nurse.
The poverty I witnessed was jaw dropping, the lack of material things,
how much I take for granted, and how they little they need in order to survive.
If there is one thing that I would like to take from nursing and bring to my art
is an appreciation of freedom, the freedom I experienced in childhood
through play, fantasy, and humor. My recent artwork explores the concept of
balance--life as a balancing act--while presenting human frailty with
pathos and compassion.