Some documentation from this semester…
It’s that time again. The official day that I sit and reflect on my life as a person with diabetes. I say ‘official’ because this is something I think about daily (no special anniversary needed). It has now been 22 years since I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 3. To avoid sounding redundant, I’ll skip the details about the struggle of attempting to manage some kind of control over my body. Instead, I’ll share some exciting things that I’m doing right now and have been doing that relate to art and diabetes.
- Children’s Book. Writing a children’s book has been a dream of mine since I was a kid myself. I’ve always loved reading and drawing and writing and thought “why not create a book of my own?” It’s taken a while to get to this point (I have many unfinished stories), but it’s real this time and I’m determined to publish it within the next year. The reason I’m mentioning the book in this post is because the book I’m writing/illustrating is meant for kids who are growing up with diabetes. I don’t want to share too much information yet, but I’ve been working on this since September and still have a lot of work left. I’m SO excited to share it soon. You can see peeks if you follow me on Instagram @anamoralesart.
- Thesis Work. For my MFA I have to complete a written thesis as well as create work for a thesis exhibition this summer in Chicago. Both are influenced by my experiences living with diabetes and the work that I’ve made about diabetes over the past six years. My goal is to document both processes over the next several months and share them here and on other social media platforms. I’m making plans for the steps I will take post-graduation, and that includes sharing my work broadly and figuring out how I can bring it into non-art spaces as well.
- Diabetes Study. This doesn’t directly relate to my art practice, except that it’s kind of like research. I’m currently participating in a 16 week study conducted by The Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science at The University of Virginia. The purpose of the study is to test an Internet-based program for use with women with Type 1 diabetes who plan on one day becoming pregnant. The goal of the program is to help these women learn how to regulate their blood glucose levels for pregnancy. It is almost like taking a refresher course on how to manage my numbers, plus I’m learning lots of new information and making a greater effort to notice symptoms of high and low blood sugar.
- Education. While I don’t have much time to do anything else, I’ve still been thinking about what the next step is for me. In addition to being an artist, I am also an educator and I think there is great value in using visual art to spread information that encourages empathy. I am interested in any opportunity to bridge the gaps between people who are suffering in isolation and between doctors and patients. I want to talk to students, doctors, patients, parents, and partners about the power of art in the realm of medicine. Last month, my work was part of a display by Art in CME at the 41st Annual ACEhp Conference (Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions) and I hope to participate in more things like this in the future.
Stay tuned for updates and more documentation of my progress. Thanks for reading! xoxo
“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” -Stephen King
1. My fall semester instructors/advisors/mentors: Gerry Bannan, Tim Nickodemus, and Pamela Sneed
2. Illustrations by Maira Kalman
3. Documentary: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
4. Cut paper art by Rogan Brown
5. The life and afterlife of Henrietta Lacks a.k.a. He-La
6. Book: Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
“Guaranteeing to “get well” similarly reinforces the notion that health is a binary, with sickness on one side and wellness on the other. Is it? Doctors increasingly diagnose conditions pre-cancerous, pre-diabetic, pre-bad, and everyone’s health is constantly fluctuating, like one’s pulse or blood pressure.”
7. Article: The Pressure to Say You’re OK by Adam Baer
8. Book: The Reality Shows by Karen Finley
My final paper/project for my Writing as Art class last semester… I was going to make some edits before sharing it, but I decided to post it the way it was submitted first. I’m very attached to this work and will continue to develop it over the next few months. Creating this project was both challenging and incredibly rewarding. The thought of sharing it publicly gives me a lot of anxiety, but I am interested to see how others receive it. Please feel free to leave comments! xoxo
1. Poetry by Sandra Stone (Cocktails with Brueghel at the Museum Cafe)
1. Piet Mondrian’s grid-like paintings
“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”
2. Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag
3. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s bright colors and stylized figures
4. Meredith Woolnough’s embroideries
5. Sean Scully’s block paintings
6. Science Festival activities (The museum I work at participated in a science festival and one of the activities we did with the visitors was painting with watercolors and cooking oil. I loved the results so much that I bought the materials and used them in my own work!)
Something you may not know about me is that I love to read. I find that books really inspire me. I have a growing collection of books about art and I’ve been wanting to write about some of my favorites that I would recommend to fellow artists. The first book I’m going to write about is actually perfect for any creative type, whether they are are a musician, writer, visual artist, etc. The book is called “Steal Like an Artist” and it was written and illustrated by Austin Kleon.
A little background first: I don’t remember how, but I stumbled upon the work of Austin Kleon online one day. He has a series of work called Newspaper Blackout where he would take sections of newspapers and black out all the words except for a few in order to create his own short poem. It’s a seemingly simple process, but the results were pretty clever. The idea took off and now people all over the world are doing it and sharing it on the Newspaper Blackout Tumblr.
On the site where I saw his art, I also saw that he had just written a book. I was able to preview it online and immediately I was hooked. I pre-ordered it on Amazon (it was only about $6) and it’s definitely one of my favorite books now.
I love so many things about this book. First of all, it’s small and super easy to read (like you could probably read it in an hour). Since there isn’t a ton of content, it’s easy to get the message and everything seems pretty fresh in your mind at the end. More importantly, though, the message is a really good one.
I would especially recommend this book to high schoolers or anyone who is just starting out. The author is realistic, but encouraging. He encourages the reader to take responsibility of their own education, work hard, and live a “boring” life if that’s what it takes to produce a large volume of work. After all, making a lot of work is the only way to get better and figure out who you are as an artist.
In case you can’t read it, that last quote says, “Modern art = I could do that + Yeah, but you didn’t.” (Craig Damrauer). That sort of sums of the perspective of this book, I think.
I recently bought Austin’s second book, “Show Your Work!” but I’ve yet to read it. When I do, I will definitely share my thoughts on here :] Thanks for reading!
Hello! Do you have snow where you live? If so, I hope you’re staying safe and are able to enjoy it. Personally, I’m not a fan of snow except that I like looking at it and there is a lot to look at today here in Roanoke.
Anyway, I decided that today is a good day to talk about organization. I sometimes forget things really easily, so one thing I do to help myself stay organized and on top of things is to make lists and make lots of them. I make daily to-do lists, lists of goals for the future, lists of ideas, and so on. I even bought a book a few years ago called “My Future Listography: All I Hope To Do in Lists.”
Recently, I found some small paperback sketchbooks that I really love. They come in two different sizes and a few different colors. They remind me of the Moleskine books, but they are a little cheaper. The brand is Fabriano, in case you want to look for them. I get mine at Michaels.
Ever since I started buying them last year, I use them for everything–to take notes for an online class, to plan art lessons, to record my blood sugar levels, to sketch, and of course to write lists. Writing things down by hand helps me to remember them better and it helps me stay organized.
Thanks for reading!