Arthritis and art

August 15, 2011

Several months ago I was interviewed by a Stanford University student for a project she was working on involving art and biology. More specifically, she decided to focus on rheumatoid arthritis as an example of an auto-immune disease. The student, Catherine, had randomly found my blog and emailed me asking if I’d like to participate. She described the project a bit over email, which sounded really interesting, so I said sure, give me a call. It was maybe a week later that we spoke on the phone and I became quite impressed with Catherine and her ideas after hearing more about the project. She explained it better than I can, but basically she said that she planned to interview several people with RA and then in a series of drawings (of cells, body systems, etc.) she would use their exact words to form the images she would illustrate. As we spoke, I became very excited and inspired hearing her tell me about her studies and what she was doing. The biology and science of RA is something that I’ve been forced to learn about, you could say, and it is a constant presence in my life. I have also always loved art and seeing new ways one can express him or herself through it. Catherine asked me a lot of questions about my history of having the disease and about my life in general. She wanted to know what it feels like having RA and what my fears, hopes, and joys are (if any). We chatted for about two hours with her also tape recording me. She was a very lovely, sweet person to talk to and I feel grateful to be a part of her work at Stanford. But anyway – last week she emailed me a video clip of her presenting her project. She’s also supposed to email me scans of the actual artwork sometime in the near future, which I will post when I get them. So here’s the video clip. Arthritis and art, crazy huh?

6 Responses to “Arthritis and art”


  1. Wow! I loved it! I can’t wait for when you post her artwork so I can read RA at a molecular level close up.

  2. Lana Says:

    Wow! This is awesome! Good for you for taking part. It is so important to educate about RA and I really love the way it is going to be presented.

  3. Sandy Beach Says:

    This was very moving. Thanks for posting.

  4. Katie Grace Says:

    Just found your blog! LOVE IT so much and this post! I am a Senior at Gardner-Webb University studying art and living with Rheumatoid Arthritis as a 21 year old! This was so interesting and wonderful! I’m excited to continue to keep up with your blog!

    • Angela Says:

      Hi Katie,
      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you found my blog and like it. When were you diagnosed with RA? That’s great you’re studying art. I’d love to go back to school and take more art classes. What kind of art are you doing?

      • Katie Grace Says:

        It’s been a while sorry for such a late reply! I was diagnosed 4 years ago in February of 2008. My art concentrations are in photography, printmaking and 2D design! This was truly inspiring! Thanks for sharing!


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