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Through her art, Rhonda has explored psoriasis, a chronic skin disorder she has lived with since the age of six. Art, and working as an artist, has proven to be cathartic and has helped her in coming to terms with living with psoriasis. Rhonda also works as a participatory artist in the community using the arts to bring people together. She has carried out a number of arts projects with a focus on arts in health for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom with a special emphasis in dermatology.
Time is Now I
Time is Now II
Green Tree Repaint
Dennis was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in the summer of 2007. The disease was particularly fierce, and exactly one year later Dennis underwent three surgeries to remove his colon and construct an internal pouch, known as a J-pouch. Not knowing anyone else with the disease, Dennis began a blog to share his story with others. After realizing the power the Internet has to connect people who have embarrassing, chronic, and incurable illnesses, Dennis decided to pursue a master's degree and Ph.D in mass communication, specializing in health communication. He dedicates his career to advance knowledge about the Internet's role in promoting health and wellbeing.
Day of the Armada
Dorethey Gorham is a self-taught artist who was born in Fort Hood, Texas. Artistically inclined from a young age, she actively crocheted and crossstitched until the pain of arthritis and degenerative disk disease forced her to give up detailed hand work. In need of a new creative outlet, Dorethey saw a magazine article about folk art in 1995 and was inspired to try her hand at painting. Her work quickly gained a large following and is highly sought after across the United States. Despite her struggles with arthritis, general anxiety syndrome and diabetes, Dorethey’s work speaks volumes about her love of family, friends and the sense of joy with which she lives her life each day.
Despite a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in 1987, Wren enjoyed a long and successful career as a graphic artist, newspaper reporter, and editor. In 2006, she started writing an award-winning blog about living well with RA and freelance articles for a variety of health-related internet websites. Both led to her becoming a passionate advocate for RA and chronic pain patients. Wren has always loved creating her art with pen and ink, colored pencils and watercolors. But when her RA finally made gripping her pens and brushes too painful, she adapted, and today uses digital art programs and lightly held stylus instead. Sketching and painting all kinds of animals and birds in different styles gives her joy and makes her laugh every day—her personal recipe for living well with autoimmune disease and chronic pain.
Verbloemen (to gloss over)
At age 18, Barbara was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis. Because of her disease, her colon had to be removed. One year after having an ileostoma, a surgical operation in which a piece of the ileum is diverted to an artificial opening in the abdominal wall, she had to undergo an ileoanal anastomosis. After two wonderful pregnancies, she was confronted with a volvulus (bowel obstruction) at the age of 40, which resulted in losing her entire small intestine. Since 2007, she has been living on Total Parenteral Nutrition and fluid infusions. Through painting and creating ceramics, she tries to find peace of mind.
Born in Shanghai, China, Ruyi is a self-taught artist living with bipolar disorder since 2009. Through her art, she seeks to share subjective expression of heightened emotional experiences from bipolar episodes. While working as an engineering professional, she continues to create artwork hoping that her pieces will touch people with hope, courage and belief.
Artist and Co-Founder of PeaceLove, Jeffrey Sparr is a man on an audacious mission – a mission to make mental illness cool. Not cool to have, but cool to support. A family man, mental health advocate, teacher and self-taught artist, Jeff is above all a survivor, battling obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) much of his life. Inspired by a simple, powerful image signifying “peace of mind and love for yourself,” Sparr set out to build the first global movement to help billions of people create peace of mind through expressive arts and storytelling.
Michelle Hammer is a NYC native with schizophrenia. At 27, she decided to use her artistic talents and fearless personality, creating a clothing line with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health. Her inspiration comes from her “busy mind.” “When you look at these pieces, your eye constantly moves around, and never stays in one spot. One part of the artwork leads you to another area of it and that area also leads you to a different spot.”
Donna Lewis is an artist and cartoonist living in Washington, DC. By day, Donna uses her legal background to create social impact initiatives through art and education. By night and weekends, Donna writes and draws the syndicated comic strip Reply All and single panel Reply All Lite. Donna’s current focus is Living Broken, social impact art inspired by real life stories of thriving in the face of challenge.
Artwork donated by MINDS, one of Singapore’s oldest and largest non-governmental organizations catering to the educational, vocational, social and welfare needs of people with intellectual disability.
Carlos Stela—from Peru, was living in a psychiatric hospital writing and playing music as a part of his healing process. A truly artistic talent, he moved to painting and created many pieces that portray elements of his journey as someone living with mental illness. Carlos is an excellent example of how the practice of artwork can soothe the body, mind and soul. His masterful pieces have been an integral part of the National Art Exhibitions of the Mentally Ill collection.
Sebastian Ferreira was born in Asuncion, Paraguay. He is fascinated with the cities of Madrid, Paris, Rome, Seville and Cordoba, and with the great highways that run through them. He draws inspiration from these cities, and when he cannot visit them, he looks to photographs, postcards, and various magazines that depict them, immersing himself in the subjects of his art.
Mario Mesa immigrated to the United States in 1980 from Cuba. A difficult childhood forced him to work from an early age, but in 1991, he found his love for painting. Art, especially painting, play a central role in his life, helping him feel fulfilled and enabling him to express himself in a way he cannot quite capture with words. Mario passed away in 2016.
An Australian born artist, Donna Williams grew up with several neurological disorders, including PTSD, Dissociative Identity Disorder and autism. Influenced by these disorders, her many painting styles give people a glimpse into the world of someone living with autism. In addition to her artistic endeavours, Donna was a singer-songwriter, a published poet and the author of two international bestselling autobiographies. She was a renowned public speaker in the field of autism and had been a professional autism consultant. In July 2011, Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer. She passed away from cancer in 2017.
Artwork from, Reflections Art in Health a user-led charity that promotes positive mental health through the creative arts.
Mimi was diagnosed with Idiopathic Arterial Pulmonary Hypertension in 2002, Retinal Vein Occlusion in 2007 and Macular Degeneration in 2011. She had been a painter her whole life, focusing on the natural beauty of the Western landscape in the United States. Her work has been shown in galleries and publications all over the world. When she began to lose her sight, her work became more abstract, intuitive and color forward. As she experienced more physical limitations, her work became less about the landscapes surrounding her, and more about her internal world. Mimi’s painting process was a form of meditation, training her mind to focus and redirect her thoughts. It evolved into a method of stress reduction, self-awareness and acceptance. Mimi passed away in 2020.
Cliff is among a number of artists represented by The Creative Center at University Settlement, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the creative arts to people living with cancer and other chronic illnesses. Along with free-of-charge art workshops and hospital-based bedside art programs, The Creative Center exhibits and markets the artwork of professional artists living with illness.
The Beauty of Healing Through Art
Bobby Ferro was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 17. Following numerous surgeries and radiation, Bobby graduated from high school and college and received a master’s degree in clinical and mental health counseling. Despite progression of his disease, and additional surgeries and treatments, Bobby worked in mental health/addiction counseling, a career he loved, primarily supporting the poor and disadvantaged. Refusing to let his disease define him or defy him, he lived life to the fullest, travelling the world, advocating for and helping the homeless, inspiring many, and using painting and photography as a way to express the beauty he saw around him. Bobby believed deeply in diversity and inclusivity, treating everyone he met with respect and acknowledging their worth and beauty. At age 27, Bobby passed away from glioblastoma. His mother, Alysia Baldwin Ferro, has worked at Johnson & Johnson for more than 30 years, mainly in Regulatory Affairs in various therapeutic areas. Honoring Bobby and the full and productive life he lived, she is proud to share his work with Janssen for inclusion in its global art collection.
Magical Moment in a Park Far, Far Away
Jeremy is a pharmacist living in Belgium. Fueled by a passion for medicine, science, and technology, he has spent the last 15 years at Janssen working on the development of new therapies for patients with Multiple Myeloma. He is driven by a desire to provide answers for urgent medical needs and help patients get back to the activities they love. He started painting more than 10 years ago, self-reflecting and looking to find peace and purpose in his life. Drawing and painting have become essential for him to maintain balance. Magical Moment in a Park Far, Far Away illustrates his interests and inspirations - Asia, calligraphy and ink brush painting, and resilience during difficult times.
Flowers of Hope
Hiba is a pharmacist working in the Janssen Oncology therapeutic area. When her brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 29, she and her family faced complex challenges. “I thought that I was familiar with cancer,” she explains. “I used to hear about patients suffering from cancer and met with them in the hospitals and clinics. But when a person so close to me was diagnosed, I felt lost.” Her brother was afraid and refused to take any medication or undergo surgery. Although she felt weak and broken during this period, she felt compelled to show the opposite and stand strong to motivate him and eventually convince him to be treated. Her brother is now cured. The broken flowers in her painting tell “a thousand stories” about her, her emotions, what she has been through personally, as well as what her country has experienced following the blast in Beirut in 2020. “This painting represents every one of us.”
Jane Kielt was an active world traveler and retired art teacher from southern New Jersey. In 2010, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the same disease she lost her father to only a few years earlier. Jane felt fortunate to have treatment options that had been unavailable to her father, and honored him by staying strong no matter the obstacle. Throughout her life, Jane followed her passion for art. As she lived with Multiple Myeloma, painting had proved to be a significant therapeutic outlet. She loved to get lost in a watercolor and focus on the small details. Jane thrived on living life to the fullest, enjoying every moment with loved ones and surrounding herself with strength. She viewed each day as a gift and had a message for others living with multiple myeloma: “Remember to unwrap the day, enjoy it, stay positive, and stay strong.” Jane passed away in 2020.
Still Life 1998
Susan Davis was a self-taught artist whose work included magazine and book illustrations, formal oils, murals, detailed watercolors and highly evocative pastel drawings. Over the course of her career that spanned more than twenty-five years, Susan produced a broad and highly acclaimed body of work. Her June, 1998 retrospective exhibition was eagerly received and was held over through September due to the enormous response. In August of 1997, Susan was stricken with a malignant brain tumor. The effects left her right side — her painting arm — paralyzed, but it did not dim her spirit nor deter her from practicing her art. Although this work is decidedly different from earlier work, it is lit by the same honest joy, painterly skill, and highly refined color sense which made her work both recognizable and beloved. After a valiant struggle against the disease, Susan Davis died on December 20, 1999. She lives on in her daughter, Jamie Barkin, and in the heart of her husband, Robert Barkin.
Martin Freeman, who was kind enough to donate his extraordinary artwork to Janssen, was born and raised in Martinez, California. As a child, he had very little exposure to the arts, but in 1978, he found his passion for painting. Within a year, he began sculpting works of art from his childhood mementoes. After creating numerous works of art, Martin decided to use his old paintings to create new pieces, cutting up the old to create something new and interesting. In 1990, Martin was diagnosed with AIDS. His diagnosis both facilitated and inspired his continued focus on art. He lives in San Francisco, where he continues to use old or repurposed material to create new work.
Not What It's Cracked Up to Be
Melinda was first diagnosed with HIV in 1993 at the age of 23. In 1995, she experienced a brain infection, her first opportunistic diseases from the virus. Before she began medication, her brain infection caused her to suffer from dementia, temporary paralysis and loss of vision. Miraculously, with treatment, Melinda survived. Art is a significant part of her recovery, and each new piece reflects a part of her journey. Melinda lives with her two children.
Tree of Life
Goddess of Healing