Public art It started with the doctor — or medical professional — along the fence post, which was made of plywood, painted, and cut out and screwed up there. It was kind of a comical way to look …
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It started with the doctor — or medical professional — along the fence post, which was made of plywood, painted, and cut out and screwed up there. It was kind of a comical way to look at the Coronavirus issue, as serious as it is, with the medical professional hunting down virus models with a syringe.
More than anything, it was supposed to be something that could make people smile while they’re at a red light. I set it up at 72nd and Ward because that’s a heavily trafficked intersection, so I knew it would get some attention.
When the installation was up, I noticed a lot of people stop and get out of their car to take pictures of it when it was up, which made me smile. I’m not sure what message they’re taking away from it, but at least it’s catching their eye and bringing something to their lives.
I took it down recently once the vaccines started getting distributed. It was up there for almost a year, and I felt like it did its job. I still have it in my garage though.
I’m very connected to the medical community through my family. I’m from a large family — I’ve got 12 brothers and sisters — and my mom is a nurse, my dad was a respiratory therapist. A lot of my sisters followed my mom’s footsteps and became nurses. I have a brother who is a firefighter paramedic and another brother who is a sports medicine professor at a university.
The pandemic has been tough because it’s put my mom in a high-risk situation — she’s 65, she’s an ICU nurse in Cleveland, and she sees a lot of COVID-19 patients. And so, she’s the most at-risk in my family and she’s in the middle of it more than any of my sisters, because they’re working in the NICU or they’re doing outpatient assignments.
Because my mom’s so involved my dad developed this idea that it’s almost impossible to hide from COVID-19 because they’re both so convinced that they’ll eventually get it through their work. But so far, they’ve been alright.
A lot of my art seems to revolve around an environmental focus. I really prefer to tackle an environmental or slightly political perspective. I would say that my favorite type of art is to take a famous drawing or painting and redo it in a way that makes it my own, makes it more relevant to whatever is going on today.
For example, I have one of Smokey the Bear after I heard about a forest fire that was started by a gender reveal party. I was pretty bummed out to hear that it burned down in such a reckless manner, so I created a Smokey the Bear with two boxing gloves on; one was baby blue, and one was pink. And it was kind of taking a political event and providing a different take on it, coupled with taking a famous figure like Smokey the Bear and bringing him into a modern-day situation.
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