First-grade mathematics exam: If Bob has 30 candies and he eats 20 of them, what is he left with now?
Some genius kid: Diabetes. Bob’s left with Diabetes.
The kid’s got the common sense more than anyone. He’s certainly going places; not just any place, but a design school for graphic design or fine arts. And it’s pretty obvious he’s going to raise his voice against diabetes in his artworks, social services logo and vocal illustrations.
You see, the amount of all the sugary stuff we eat is poured into our blood and is regulated by a hormone produced by the pancreas in our body. This hormone is called insulin. When the pancreas stops producing insulin, the level of sugar rises in the blood. That, my friend, is called diabetes.
Artists are sensitive people by nature and they feel too deeply, even if it’s for a disease like diabetes. They can voice out their emotions and feelings about diabetes in their artworks, healthcare logos, scribbling and stroking on a paint-laden canvas in their fine art studios. But that’s not all of it. Their paintings don’t just end up in art galleries, they have a divine purpose i.e. to create awareness among their fellowmen.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss artworks from 25 artists who are exploring the depths of their imagination and the malady in human nature. Let’s take a look at what they’ve got.
Appleton is an American artist who works his magic on the streets of NYC. He started collecting insulin vials, injections, and blood strips since he was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of six. He’s aware of his condition and he knows that the struggle is real. That is why he paints bottles of insulin, syringes and medical supplies icon on streets to reach out to the suffering people and show the real face of diabetes. All Appleton wants is to educate people about the shortcoming in health and prevent misconceptions related to diabetes.
2. Jen Jacobs
Being diagnosed as a diabetic at the age of 12 years is nothing more than a curse bestowed upon a sprouting bud. But Jen Jacobs promised herself she would give a visual voice to her experiences with diabetes and now here she is. She’s a graduate artist who now creates paintings and mixed-media art to express her stories and different phases of life. Moreover, she has also worked with several organizations within the diabetes context. Her artistic designs on the other hand, exceptionally conveys the voice of every diabetic out there. Jen wants people to feel how one can battle diabetes and still survive proudly.
3. Ana Morales
Ana Morales was diagnosed with diabetes type I at the age of 3. She started making art pieces for diabetes in 2010 and for the Diabetes Art Day the same year. She had been a quite private person lately, but after her participation in the Diabetes Art Day project, her life changed and she used visuals as a means of conveying her message properly to the audience. She wants to make it accessible for anyone who’s interested. She doesn’t talk only about complications; she talks about awareness and the complexity of art as well.
4. Aujan Rattley
Aujan Rattley was commissioned to design awareness posters and booklets by the Australian Diabetes Council. The event focused on eye health and vision loss in diabetic patients in 2011. The posters and diabetic stalls were placed all across Sydney, Australia, the popularity of which made it the most successful Diabetes Awareness Week. It seems Aujan’s work did make an impact overall!
5. Nora Mokate
Currently a Membership Specialist at the UFC GYM in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Nora Mokate hasn’t lost her passion for art. She graduated with a fine arts degree and has serious, practical art skills that are reflected in her paintings. She also participated in the Diabetes Art Day in 2014 and produced her work, which strongly manifests the decreased control one has over his life when diabetes dominates.
6. Gareth Morgan
Gareth Morgan is a cell biologist cum visual artist who produces diabetes-related art to draw the public’s attention towards the problems diabetics confront. He started a project called ‘The Diabetes Art Machine’ that turns diabetic experiences into creative art. Plus, he narrates his real-life experiences in the form of cartoons logos, drawings, stop-motion animation, sculptures, and so on. He intends to explore more art fields to relate his feelings from an objective viewpoint.
7. Aaron Cook
Aaron Cook started his artistic journey after his training as a chemical and microbiological engineer and partial training as a surgeon proved mentally devastating for him. He drew closer to art to capture the surreal and abstract images in nature with respect to the scientific theme. Below is his work, Diabetes, Mania and the Crowned Woodnymph Hummingbird, that doesn’t necessarily depict the syringes and vials, but instead, uses a hummingbird as an expression of the diabetes metaphor. About his painting, Cook elaborates:
“Something I am trying to learn to slow down from. I find similarities of impatience in the disease pathology of diabetes, a disease that sometimes derives from a behavior of the rate of consumption of carbohydrates (sugar). Life sometimes is just too sweet.”
8. Tobias Broughton
His passion for art and music dragged him to liberate his passion. He’s also a teacher who loves to design curriculum for various subjects like History, Design, Film, Photography, Digital Art, and Art History. The chap we’re talking about is Tobias Broughton who works across all visual media types and is an emerging name in graphic design. His work below is called ‘Diabetes, Type 1, Episode 2’, where he demonstrated the times he was hit by the disease itself.
9. Agne Kisoniate
Agne Kisonaite is an award-winning Lithuanian professional artist whose work inspires her to remain optimistic during her times of diabetic distress. She wanted to improve her quality of life and kept experimenting – both with medical and art approaches. Her work below features a rooftop view of a feminine figure injecting insulin in her abdomen, which is actually a reflection of her own self. Agne remarks,
“In that picture I am trying to look to myself from the top, like it reflects just a part of me, like I still have a chance to get completely well.”
10. Brian Bradley
Ever heard of a man who made his disease his identity? He’s none other than Brian Bradley. This man covered his surroundings and even his body with tattoos of insulin, syringe, and diabetic patients and goes by the pseudonym of ‘Frank Kwiatkowski’. Not only is his approach creative but is also out of the box. He’s more of the DIY logo and street artist, if you’d ask us. His art speaks volumes about his struggles with diabetes since the age of 8.
11. Jenny Proudfoot
The work featured below is a detailed description of the physiological and serious complications caused by diabetes type I and II. Jenny Proudfoot is the mind behind this creative effort as she pinpoints the areas where diabetes is likely to strike. Since it was made for a leading medical equipment organization, Jenny has made a marvelous use of watercolors mixed with digital illustration. From what it seems, this project is clear to understand and is mutable in spreading awareness. Who says artists can’t handle health issues that well?
12. Erin Lux
Erin Lux is a Brooklyn-based artist, cartoonist, and animator. She is also a recognized name who has worked with several notable clients, such as Buzzfeed, Time Out New York, Blue Moon Brewing Co, and Lenny Letter to name a few. With respect to diabetes, her digital illustration ‘Insulin’ features a young woman by an open fridge, where the viewers are drawn to the insulin boxes lined up in the top shelf in the fridge door. This is a silent message for people who are unaware of the challenges diabetics have to face.
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13. Serg Klyosov
Some artists declare war against diabetes explicitly, while some like to use metaphorical weapons. Serg Klyosov likes to use intermediary approach and convey his message that strikes all the senses a man can have. The image of a lollipop with a naval mine-lookalike inside is yet a clear expression of how confectionary can hide a sordid surprise for the diabetics. It’s clear that Serg’s passion floods his work!
14. Michael Mullan
For an illustrator, it’s not easy to come up with ideas every nanosecond, but Michael Mullan knows how to create fun, colorful illustrations out of the deepest depths of his mind. He’s a surface artist, illustrator, and hand lettering expert who has designed several editorials, advertisements, cancer illustrations and book covers for renowned clients. His work below is called ‘Cancer & Diabetes’, which gives the audience a peek into the life of the cancer and diabetic patients and how their life goes. Michael’s work was featured in the Diabetic Living Magazine.
15. Leon Mussche
Since 2003, Leon Mussche has been working as an independent illustrator and designer. He graduated from the Academy of Arts in Breda, the Netherlands, and has been catering to several clients in multiple countries. The work below was featured in the weekly illustration in ‘Zin’ magazine Health Section. One can see a woman trying to balance an insulin-laden syringe on a tightrope, which sums up the life of the diabetic patients.
16. Lauren Pizzi
What is it like to step out of your kaleidoscope mind and face the ugly disease that’s truncating the body? Lauren Pizzi started thinking about her 15years old diabetes and wanted to look at her illness from an original perspective. Her attempt to overcome her diabetes-related fears turned out extremely well as she portrayed the still life in her work ‘Balance’ and is proud of her optimism. Check out her work below.
17. Daryna Dombik
Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Daryna Dombik is an undergraduate student who focuses on illustration, graphic design, and drawing. Her work below was commissioned for Diabetes Awareness Week, via which she aimed to create awareness, prevent the pre-complication of diabetes, and ensure better treatment of diabetic patients.
18. Gavin Munnings
Gavin Munnings has more than 20 years of experience in the field of graphic design, illustration, and management of wide format print. In his line of work, he has come across some potential clients, such as Adidas, McCains, Lloyds Bank, and Frank. Using his voice against diabetes for a relative awareness campaign, he employed digital logos with hand-written type that draws attention to the core message projected. Take a look at it.
19. Samantha Weiser
Her work screams out of the lifeless canvas. It’s alive and it speaks. It reminds the diabetics of the times they have to go through each procedure to keep alive. Samantha Weiser is a diabetic artist who portrays her life and routine intensely in her work. Her work below is a crystal clear expression of the pain every diabetic feels when going through a procedure several times a day.
20. Bruno Fernandes
During developing a video project for diabetes, Bruno Fernandes uploaded some peeks to his work. His work features a strip inserted in a glucose meter, a syringe, a blood drop with some sugar cubes in it, and vials of insulin. About Bruno, he’s an avid musician, graphic designer, and a keen illustrator.
21. Lydia Jean
Lydia Jean is an artist who has a dope soul, a fun-loving attitude, and an affection for spooky and wizardry art and illustrations. Her specialty: all the cute stuff and drawings you can imagine. However, she hasn’t turned a blind eye to the horrors diabetes can cause, that’s why she illustrated her way of tackling with it. Using digital, vector act, the sticker she produced says it all.
22. Winston Cangsuco
Winston Cangsuco is a Philippines-based illustrator and designer who specializes in digital art and mixed media. Though his work touches a multitude of concepts, he designed for an illustrative campaign going by the name of ‘Sugar Kills’. It’s meant to spread awareness regarding diabetes and the harms associated with it. Diabetes doesn’t really look pretty, but Winston has used vibrant colors in logos to attract some attention.
23. Scott Bakal
From what his profile says, Scott Bakal is an international award-winning, serial illustrator, who has captivated some potential clients, such as the New York Times, Time, Playboy, Washington Post and the list goes on and on. He also has taught and delivered lectures at the Fashion Institute of Technology and is currently an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. As for his work regarding diabetes, he produced a fantastic illustration for the New York Times. The work may not point directly towards diabetes, but is a personal recollection of ideas and notions of the artist himself.
24. Bryan Christie Design
Yet another creative and celebrated artist and illustrator, Bryan Christie has been featured in famous publications, like WIRED, The New York Times, Newsweek, Field & Steam, and Esquire. He develops designs using 3-D modeling software technology to bring out the intricate elements of his workpieces. By doing so, he also wants people to use their visual senses to explore the concepts integrated in the design. His work ‘Diabetes Women’ displays a visual representation of the physiological harms induced by diabetes in the body of women.
25. Haidee Merritt
She’s the patient and the artist and she loves to explore both parts of her. With a BA in Literature, Haidee Merritt has been living through her struggles with diabetes type I and capturing the moments with the humorous sense she’s got. According to her,
“If you think it’s easy—you know, “just watch your diet”—then you’re not doing it right. I’ve put my complaints to paper (a lot more paper than you’re holding right now, by the way) although I can’t quite remember why I started. Maybe I thought my dark sense of humor would pay off someday, somehow?”
Color Me Yes, But Sugar Me Not
We just covered a whole list of artists who made passionate art against an invisible intruder in our lives, can you believe that? Diabetes is an invisible illness that squeezes you dry of any blood drop, thanks to all the blood sugar testing. It’s not easy to live with diabetes and that’s what our artists are uttering through their art.
Diabetes is a lifestyle, and this lifestyle, when lived correctly, is an art itself. Most of the artists on our list are diabetic and they want others to see the suffering beyond what seems like normal healthy body. If you’d just notice the pain, their pricked fingers, and their sore abdomen, you’d realize the meaning of suffering.
But life doesn’t have to end on a grotesque note, making up your life while living with a condition is worth more than anything you could have. We are happy to share with you the list of artists who are optimistic about their lives, their diabetes, and their art.
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