Tag: november

World Diabetes Day 2015

Kinky Curly human hair Lace Wigs

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and today is World Diabetes Day. If you’ve been here before you know that diabetes is a huge part of my life and I’ve spent the last several years making work about it. Sometimes I make art to shed light on what it’s like to live with diabetes and sometimes I make art as a way of coping with the disease. Sometimes it’s both.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain how I feel when it comes to my diabetes. I am fortunate enough to have access to the medication, supplies, and care that I need, and I am capable of administering my own medication every day. I’ve achieved many of my goals, I’m at a healthy weight, I do most of the things I want to do, I have a supportive family, and I’m marrying someone who is willing to deal with and support me through all the things that suck about diabetes. And that’s just it. Living with diabetes sucks. My body seems to be getting more sensitive to pain as I get older. Sometimes my insulin doesn’t work. My fingertips are also more sensitive, especially my right pointer finger. Rubbing any slightly rough material is really uncomfortable. My feet are almost always cold. Sometimes I have to eat glucose tablets at the gym because I calculated something wrong. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I woke up because my blood sugar level is plummeting and then I have to eat glucose tablets while I lay sweating in bed trying to stay awake until I feel better. I could go on (and on and on…).

I’m pretty good at staying positive and I’m thankful for that particular personality trait. Making art about diabetes has been such a rewarding creative outlet and I truly believe it changed my life. I continue to feel called to make this work and I hope I can do great things with it (I have plans!).

Anyway, I hope that you spend time this month (even just a few minutes!) learning about the various types of diabetes and what it means to live with this disease. Learn what the symptoms are and share this information with your loved ones. I was three years old when I was diagnosed and I couldn’t describe what I was feeling, but my dad was observant and noticed my symptoms. My oldest sister was diagnosed later the same year and she was able to describe what I was going through to my parents because she was going through the same things. Now that I’m older, I am now incredibly grateful for that.

There are many blogs and other resources that cover this topic. Here are some great websites and articles to get you started:

International Diabetes Federation

The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes

A Cartoonist Laughs at Diabetes, and Her Book Will Make You Laugh Too

T1 Diabetes is Complicated…Even for Doctors

Don’t Judge People with Type 2 Diabetes

In Praise of Diabetes Unawareness

Type 1 Diabetes Finally Explained

The Invisibility of Type 1 Diabetes

Thank you so much for reading. Stay tuned for a peek into the things I’ve been making this fall! xoxo


Medical Avatar Opening Reception

Ana and Virgil Wong

Last night, I attended the Medical Avatar opening reception with some of my family. There was a great turnout and I was able to meet and talk to Virgil Wong, the man behind the show and the company Medical Avatar. His own artwork was included in the show and he gave a great lecture discussing his process as well as his background and an overview of his work with medical avatars. It was fascinating to hear about this technology that we will probably become very familiar with in the near future.

Wong 1       Wong 2


I’ve been putting up images of these pieces for the past several weeks, but I never really explained the meaning behind them. The first piece in the series, In the Works, depicts the present me. There is a lot of potential in this piece. The pencil grid in the background indicates an ongoing process and a plan. My facial features were drawn or painted and covered up multiple times to represent how I’m still at a point where I can reverse damage that is caused by diabetes and lack of control.

In the Works

The next piece, In Repair, is me five years from now if I continue living with poor control of my diabetes. In this case, poor control can mean several things including poor diet, lack of exercise, neglect to administer insulin and check my bloodsugar levels, etc. This portrait illustrates a combination of symptoms from a variety of complications such as kidney damage and eye disease. Fatigue, weight-loss, burst blood vessels, and nausea are some of the symptoms I chose to depict. The circular shapes in the background are made from a sugar and paint mixture and symbolize a chaotic lifestyle. The peeling away of the paper indicates my approaching death.

In Repair

The last piece in the series, In Control, is me five years from now if I am proactive about my diabetes control. I wanted to make sure to show that even with good control, actually even with near perfect control, I can still suffer from complications. This is why I didn’t want to make the grid in the background too perfect and why I added tiny X’s around my body. The blue ring over my chest is the symbol for diabetes.

In Control

I’m really glad I was able to find time to create work for this show. It was a great experience! The show will be up through March 2015, so make sure to check it out if you are in the Roanoke area. Thanks for reading :]



National Diabetes Awareness Month 2014

Today marks the beginning of National Diabetes Awareness Month, but more specifically, today is Type 1 Day. Back in 2011, JDRF designated the first day of National Diabetes Awareness Month as Type 1 Day in honor of the millions of people living with Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve had Type 1 for almost 21 years now, and as I’ve said before, it doesn’t get easier with time.

World Diabetes Day is coming up on November 14th and I would be so grateful if you showed your support. You can do this simply by wearing the color blue and sharing with people (through social media or word of mouth or whatever!) why you are wearing blue that day.

I just mailed an artwork donation to an organization called Boxes of Joy for Diabetics, which was created by a recently diagnosed young girl in Wisconsin. She discovered that art helped her cope with this difficult change and she decided to share that joy with other recently diagnosed children by sending them handmade cards. They are hosting an art exhibition on World Diabetes Day to raise awareness and celebrate and raise some money for Boxes of Joy. Check them out on Facebook by clicking HERE.

As an art student whose body of work is primarily about diabetes, I’ve been thinking about the d-word even more than usual. Through my own exploration as well as through conversations with my mentor and peers, I’ve learned to think about my disease in different ways. I have so many ideas for this work and I want to try to develop as many of those ideas as possible at this point. I’m looking forward to sharing new work on here as always, and I can’t wait to see what direction these explorations take me.

Please take a moment to play a part in raising awareness about diabetes and the importance of knowing the symptoms of diabetes. Your support is very much appreciated. Thank you!



Free Shipping on Etsy Products!

Hi! I just wanted to make a more formal announcement that you can get free shipping on my all of my Etsy products through December 15th using the code HOLIDAY2013. All of my items are one-of-a-kind and make great gifts. I guarantee that products will be shipped in 3-5 days, but I usually try to send them out within the first two days. Happy Shopping! :]



National Diabetes Awareness Month


Hey guys! If you’ve visited my site before, you probably know that I’m diabetic. For those of you who don’t, however, I’ll give you some background info. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was three years old, which means I’ve had it for almost 20 years. My older sister, Sysy, was diagnosed with it the same year at age 11. My brother, Alejandro, was also diagnosed with Type 1, but not until the summer of 2012 at age 27. My sister Sysy has become very involved in the diabetes online community over the last few years through her blog The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes and this is actually when I started making artwork about diabetes to kind of raise awareness in my own way.

I’m applying to grad school now and I’m using diabetes as the theme for my portfolio. I’ve been doing a lot of work recently creating new pieces and I’ll be doing a lot more work this month as my first application deadline is December 1st. Creating artwork based on diabetes has not only helped me emotionally, it has also taught me more about the disease and how it affects me physically and psychologically. I’ve been doing a lot of research in an attempt to approach this project from a variety of angles.

Anyway, November is the designated month for national diabetes awareness. I’m actually starting it off by thinking about my diabetes a whole lot. I say this because just yesterday I got a sensor called a CGMS (Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) inserted into my skin and it will be there until Monday.


This sensor is going to be checking my glucose levels frequently throughout the day. While it’s doing that, I have to be really diligent about measuring my food portions, counting carbs, etc. and accurately recording everything. I’m doing this so that I have a better idea of how much insulin I need and at what times. Let’s hope this helps!

World Diabetes Day is coming up on November 14th. One really easy way of showing your support is by wearing blue! And remember, insulin is NOT a cure! As always, thank you for reading :]


Business Conferences + Workshops + Discussions

Over the past year, I’ve been more active in learning about the business aspect of my art. I already told you guys about the classes I’ve been taking and the research I’ve been doing, but I’ve yet to mention the conference, workshop, and panel discussion I went to a while ago.


Last November, I went to the annual “Make Art Your Business” Conference at Blue Ridge Community College. This conference is still pretty new–it began in 2011. I wasn’t able to go the year before unfortunately, so I was really excited that I had the opportunity to go this time. The conference took place on a Monday so I skipped class and brought an artist friend with me. It was a great experience. I networked a little and learned a ton of information about marketing strategies, setting up a physical store, creating a social media presence,  getting work into galleries, etc. The keynote speaker was Ragan McManus, the executive director of The Arts Council of the Valley in Harrisonburg. Her presentation was probably my favorite part of the conference.


The conference this year is taking place on Monday November 4th from 9am-4pm and the keynote speaker is internationally-known artist P. Buckley Moss. I recommend this conference to any artist who is interested in starting a business as well as artists who have already taken the plunge and own a business. It’s always a good idea to keep seeking more information and see what other people are doing. You can find more information and register here: Make Art Your Business


A few months later in February, I went to a workshop called Start Smart that I signed up for through the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center in Harrisonburg (which also co-sponsored the Make Art Your Business conference). This workshop did not focus on art, but on starting any kind of small business. It’s goal was to help participants determine whether starting a small business was really what they wanted, and if so, how to get started and what things to consider. We talked about coming up with a business name, the importance of marketing, common mistakes, startup costs, etc. The small workbook I got to take home with me even had a thoroughly-explained business plan template, which I find very useful.


The last thing I attended that I want to mention was a panel discussion in Roanoke. This discussion was part of the Cox Business Executive Discussion Series. I went on May 8th when the topic was “The Role of the Arts in Economic Development.” Admission was free and participants were provided with a really nice breakfast. The expert panel included: David Mickenberg (former president/CEO of the Taubman Museum of Art), Amy Moorefield (director of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University), Chris Morrill (city manager of the city of Roanoke), Wayne Strickland (executive director of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission), and Ruth Waalkes (associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech).


The discussion was really enlightening and I learned about the growth of art where I live compared to the growth and presence of art in other fairly large cities. I also learned that while Roanoke is developing pretty quickly, it is not the greatest place for a new artist (like me) who doesn’t have a lot of connections. In other words, there seems to be more focus on individual success than there is on helping out fellow artists. This is pretty discouraging, but I think it’s good to be realistic when it comes to your career. For the time being, I am staying in Roanoke. After all, with the internet, you can become a successful artist even in the smallest of towns. Successful is a relative term of course.

I’ve learned so so much in the past year about starting a business, and I’m actually feeling pretty confident that I can do this. Unfortunately, this government shutdown is putting a bit of a damper on things, so I’ll just keep doing some more research in the meantime. As always, thanks for reading :]