It's hard to even think of a time in life as 'before getting sick.' To some extent, I've always been unwell since childhood, and dealing with health problems has continually been a big part of my life. There was a time however, when being unwell turned into a full blown, life altering chronic illness. Before IC really came crashing down, I was pursuing a career as an artist. As an emerging artist, I wasn't especially high up on the ladder of success, but really great things were starting to happen for me. Doors were opening. I was building lots of momentum and getting an increasing amount of attention for my work. When IC hit hard, that was just the tip of the iceberg of health problems occurring simultaneously. My life became a whirlwind of doctors, tests, meds, unanswered questions and endless hours of online research, not to mention the constant pain and stress of being sick. My career came to a screeching halt. I had to stop working, and before I knew it, three years had gone by without producing any artwork, the kiss of death for an artist. I watched my peers pass me by while I read an endless number of health related articles online all the while bouncing from doctor to doctor. I had slipped into complete obscurity.
I finally decided to commit to ICAMA and made the trip to LA. I eventually started working again, and approximately 6 months into treatment, I made my first finished pieces. I made a small amount of work over the course of a year, but at least it was something. One year after that, I had tripled the amount of work I was able to make and started an online store. I'm now able to work on my career daily, in some aspect. Some days are slow, due to tiredness, fatigue, brain fog, etc, but every day I do something to contribute to forward movement in my career. I've finally reached a point where I feel confident enough in my health progress to accept the offer to do a gallery show in April. Prior to that, I never felt I'd have adequate energy and bladder consistency to put in the long hours it takes. So, I'm back on the bottom rung of that ladder which can be very daunting. It's very much like starting over, but at least I'm back on the ladder crawling upwards instead of watching my little corner of the art world pass me by. Being sick has always played a part thematically in my work, but now, after all this time and after all I've learned, chronic illness and the suffering of others has informed my work even further, and I'm trying to use this very unique and personal experience to my advantage. I think ultimately that being so sick for so long may make me a better artist and more importantly, a more compassionate person when all is said and done. I have a ton of gratitude for the ICAMA program and for the time and dedication of both Dr. Matia and Dr. Boaz. It's rare to find people so truly committed to their personal and professional vision. I have the utmost respect for them, and it's mentally liberating to have a doctor whom I can trust.
PS...The first link listed is my online store. Should the ICAMA Marketplace come to fruition, I'd be very happy to set up a discount code for all of my fellow ICAMA patients!! Hope to see the marketplace site happen. Great idea!!
Thanks for everything,