More hospital art

Mal | Art Journal | Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Hospitalization, broken down

I had such a nice response when I shared some of my post-surgery artwork that I thought I would showcase this — my favorite in-hospital piece. It was one of the first I did after I was able to get upright and pick up a pen.

One of my friends kept bringing me magazines while I was in the hospital, which was great because my surgery happened less than 48 hours after Obama was elected president and I missed a lot of the post-election excitement. Well, in short order these magazines became art materials.


I had found this image of a scantily-clad Vegas showgirl in one of the magazine ads, and lying there in the hospital — with a neverending army of doctors, nurses, nurse assistants, specialists, social workers, and innocent bystanders marching in to raise my gown and poke at my naked body — I felt a certain kinship with her. I mean, I hadn’t so much as shaved my legs for over a week, but you catch my drift. Her body was for public consumption and, seemingly, so was mine.

So, I drew in 20 or so of the accoutrements of hospitalization — including my IV pole, my gown, the pajama pants I was finally able to send for, the sports bra that really only lasted for 2 days or so, my pulse-ox meter, JP drain, and other awfulness — and labeled them.

#7: IV site.

#8: Backup IV site for when #7 collapses in on itself.

Best of all, the dancer’s ridiculous headgear represented my awful case of bedhead, and her puffy blue tailfeathers were reminiscent of my hospital bed with its neverending supply of pillows.

It’s not fine art, but there was something about this piece that really, really satisfied me and, even now, brings me right back to that moment.


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