I’m writing from sunny Riverside, CA where I’m very much enjoying my time as Artist in Residence at the School of Medicine at UCR. It’s been incredible so far. In addition to teaching a class on “Practicing Graphic Medicine” through the Medical School, I’m also collaborating with Dr. Juliet McMullin in designing future projects, as well as spending time working on my own art.
The class has been a lot of fun. Last week, we discussed how the practice of drawing can provide a new set of tools to help see clinical situations and patient experience with a keener and slower eye. On the first day, I led the students through a “blind drawing” exercise, asking them to draw portraits of each other in pairs without putting their eyes on the paper in front of them. Here, I asked them to shift perspectives by moving around the room, standing up, or turning to face a different direction:
For the remaining weeks of the course, I will be guiding them to create their own comics about their experiences in clinical settings. I’m eager to see what they come up with.
As a part of my residency, I will also be delivering a talk this Thursday:
I’m excited to give this talk, though I admit to not having any solutions or conclusions to draw just yet—no sure answers about the role of art and comics in seeing us through these Trump years. At the same time, though, I do appreciate and want to emphasize that we’re all still figuring it out—and that there is no one fit to address where the world is (there never has been). Right now, I’m wanting art that helps us see and listen to each other (perhaps a running theme here?). Here is a page-in-progress from a short series that I have been working on—an exploration of what my patriotism feels like these days:
Finally, being back in California has been unexpectedly rejuvenating. I spent last weekend exploring Joshua Tree National Park. In my brief time there, I learned so much about the gorgeous, weird rock formations at the park; the threats that the park (and the multiple, unique systems of life it supports) faces from climate change; that much of the park is run on solar energy; that desert birdsong is one of the best sounds ever. We can’t let these lands that have been rightfully placed under protection to be gutted for the benefit of a few.
Stay well everyone. Thanks for stopping in <3