As I was creating this piece for Abby, full of bright and bold colors to match her personality, the paint began taking on a new life. Every time I stepped back to observe, something would draw me back in as if it was saying, “you are not finished yet.” As with most things in life, including a devastating cancer diagnosis, you have to learn to trust the process. I knew my hands and the paint would create something that represented her.
From the moment I met Abby I realized she was a warrior. “I knew I would not let cancer take me down,” she said to me. Her journey with treatment throughout a pandemic was arduous and ill-timed, however, she remained positive and determined to triumph. On top of tackling her own diagnosis, Abby has worked tirelessly to educate and caution women on the importance of advanced screening for the BRCA gene mutation. On her website, where she raises money for people in need of genetic screening, she said:
“I will fight for the woman who wants a genetic screening kit but can’t afford it. Or the woman who wants screening because she believes she is high risk. I will fight for all of you and your children because nobody should have to wait for cancer to find them first.”
On the final day of painting I brought the canvas outside of my home in Colorado. The breeze was blowing and the mountains were energetically green. As I stepped back one final time, I saw it: an elephant. Elephants are revered as a symbol of good luck, a destroyer of evil, and a remover of obstacles. In art, oftentimes elephants are depicted in battle – charging head first into the opposition. They are a symbol of strength, compassion, and wisdom. All of the qualities that Abby possesses.
The brave colors throughout the painting are a reflection of her tenacity, her passion for her family, and her all around fun and fiery spirit. Like an elephant, Abby continues to amaze and enchant the people in her life. I am blessed to be one of them.
Jackie Carmody Artist Statement:
Tamara and I were able to connect from our first zoom call. Her positive attitude and sense of humor were vibrant, even through the computer screen! As I got to know Tamara and listened to her story, I began to see images, colors, marks and different patterns. I wasn’t sure what to make of these images, but I began to sketch them and keep a creative sketch journal of what was coming up for me. Tamara talked about her diagnosis and her treatment, but the most interesting part of her story was when she began to tell me about her “Angels.”
Tamara has lost many loved ones in her life, but the energy of these people continues to surround her with love and support. After reflecting on the chats that Tamara and I had, I realized that these symbols, images, and patterns that were coming to me were the positive energies of Tamara's “Angels.” When observing the piece of artwork, I hope that the viewer can feel the movement and love throughout the piece. Each pattern and line is different, but holds its own identity and purpose. All of the Angels flow together to continue loving and supporting Tamara.
Lastly- Tamara had discussed how she does NOT like the color pink. I had made several notes to myself to avoid this color when creating the piece. When the artwork was complete, I noticed that “pink” had snuck in! I had no memory of how this “pink “ got on the canvas. Later on, Tamara had then told me how her mother (one of her Angels) always loved the color pink. Her mother would often sneak it into the blankets that she would knit.
"She Overcame Everything Meant to Destroy Her"
Kathryn Tubbs Artist Statement:
My wonderful Inspiration, Bobbie, provided me with photos and CT scans of her cancer and scars. This painting is my re-interpretation of the CT scan of her neck, with the cancer in jewel tones. My goal was to create an image of beauty abstracted from the medical imagery of Bobbie's tumor in the hopes of giving her a treasured souvenir with which to remember her inspiring story of survival from cancer. I hope this work offers Bobbie a fraction of the inspiration she has given me in sharing her cancer story with me!
Ryan Miller's Artist Statement:
Joe and I share the common experience of a dramatic midlife transformation. My struggle with mental health led me to change careers and become a visual artist, and Joe's battle with cancer has led him to become a fierce advocate for men with the disease. My painting "Wolfpack" tells Joe's story.
I used the colors of cancer support ribbons throughout the painting. The dark blue storm is Joe's battle with colon cancer. As the runoff of the storm reaches far into the ground, "The Wolfpack," a support group for men with cancer, and the website www.manuptocancer.com are born. The howling wolf calls the men of the world to join the pack, and their journey is represented by the colored columns growing upwards along the trails left behind by Joe's battle. These colors represent the most common forms of male cancers. The Wolfpack is born.
Buttons come in packs and are covered with scratch and UV-resistant mylar with a standard button-back. Proudly handcrafted and printed in the USA.