Friday, June 05, 2009

Woman turns brain tumour into art

Well, that's the story at "Tumor Turns Everyday Painter into an Artist," (Perry Chiaramonte and Leonard Greene, New York Post, June 2, 2009).

Doctors at New York-Presbyterian Hospital say Alison Silva is a medical marvel whose tumor left her with blinding visions -- and breathtaking ability.

Faced with a choice between her artistic passion and surgery that could help her live a normal life, Silva, of North Bergen, opted against the operation because it might compromise her work.

I honestly find these stories hard to interpret, for a specific reason: Most people today grow up with a vision of art as somehow irrational. We no longer hear of the golden mean or any similar rational measure - and anything we do learn, we are supposed to learn by instinct or in a fit of rage, not by rational explanation.

Why does this matter? Because we become used to the belief that if we fall and get hit on the head or develop a brain tumour, or experience some other information scrambling event, we suddenly access a great deal of inspiration that we would not otherwise have.

Don't believe it? Neither do I.

I assume that Alison Silva is justly praised for her excellent work, but her tumour likely only got her attention to the need to actually do something while she still had the opportunity. That is not guaranteed to anyone ever.

Some stories and examples of Silva's work:

- Fox News

- Gothamist


- Brain Damage A Path To More Creativity?

Like/don't like Silva's art? Fine, either way. Disease is no cocktail party joke. In my view, she should be commended for trying to deal with it the best way she can think of. Sometimes, that is all a person can do.

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