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It's Not in Your Head

solo exhibition

My most recent work, “It’s Not in Your Head” makes invisible illnesses visible. I based this body of work on the chronic illness I was diagnosed with in 2009, Allgrove syndrome, a rare autosomal recessive condition. This experiential series gives the viewer a deeper understanding of the illness itself, exposes the realities of living with an invisible illness, and helps build a community for others with an invisible illness.

Each drawing contains a depiction of myself, a quote from the journal, and a symbol that represent symptoms of Allgrove syndrome. I depict these symptoms in the drawing by using one solid color per drawing that reflects how I feel or that reminds me of the symptoms. Displayed with the drawings, are prints solely built of typefaces and fonts with the same color scheme of the drawings. These prints use a different typeface and font that will symbolize each symptom and the frustrations that accompany them. I use a similar approach to create the 10 in. x 8 in. printed hardcover journal. The drawings and densely layered text prints make up a portion of the journal as well as vibrant colors cohesive with the color scheme of the drawings. The journal also records different accounts of what it is like to live with the illness. I use the typefaces and fonts that are displayed on the drawings and prints to describe the illness and share documents from test results from my doctors’ appointments. 

The question I asked myself is “Why should people care about and try to understand those who live with an invisible illness?” My experience with Allgrove syndrome has been nothing short of a frustrating and an exhausting journey of repeatedly explaining why I do certain things the way that I do. Being able to give others a glimpse into the reality of those who do suffer from an invisible illness will raise awareness, will provide hope for other sufferers, and will affirm that it is not all in their head. Art provides a beautiful outlet when words do not suffice. By making invisible illness visible, the viewer can experience the illness and gain a better understanding of the struggles and triumphs that someone like me encounters daily. 

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