A few years ago I came across the art and story of Elizabeth Jameson and was so very moved and inspired by her work, research, and interpretation of taking her own medical imaging and brain scans as a personal expression and inquiry to understanding and coping with her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, as well as to help others with the disease and educate the medical community through her art.
It was 10 years ago this month that my life changed forever when my own central nervous system, myelin, and brain wiring first started to misbehave. In recognition of this year’s 10th anniversary, I think I’m finally up to the challenge of reflecting on my experience of living with a chronic illness and to make some art using the MRI films my neurologist handed to me in 2002.
Jameson’s call for people living with brain inflicted illnesses to “feel how ugly it is and how beautiful it is”, really speaks to me to explore this dichotomy further through art-making with my own beautiful, but altered brain scans. I need to think more about what I want to make or how (perhaps an altered book?), but I do know it is really important that I create something. This year’s milestone and re-visiting Jameson’s work gives me the motivation (and courage) to finally get started on something I have always wanted to do.
I even included this intention as part of my 2012 revo’lution as something to pay attention to this year.
You can check out more of Jameson’s art and research available online through the Johns Hopkins’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, The Beautiful Brain, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society if you are interested in seeing/learning more about her amazing work.