WCA Post submission notes:

29 Aug 14

With the research folio submitted my attention turns to long nights of incremental movements  of lancet caps & thinking about what to say in the presentation.

When I started the Drawing MA I wanted to explore the use of drawing to communicate science and medical concepts. This it wasn’t immediately apparent how I could use my drawing style and interests in satirical art to do this.

Eventually I end up getting to the questions like “Is it possible to satirise a disease?”

Though my Critical Practice essay research I saw how satirical art was used intended as an engine for change and that it can be practiced in a spectrum of different ways from angry inky drawing to cerebral conceptual art. The essay, I hope, mirrors the evolution of my practice on the the MA Drawing course.

Can my practice work. Is it sustainable?

Despite all the billions spent on diabetes research, managing the condition is not rocket science but it does require people changing their behaviour.

When I was diagnosed I decided I had to make some major life style changes with immediate effect.

When I was growing up I watched my father suffer with is diabetes. He had massive mood swings, black outs and serious physiological problems. He also had to have injections using a  glass syringe and single massive blunt needle. I hated it all. I had recurrent nightmares about being dependant on drug to survive I would sleepwalk in search of it. I also couldn’t stand the sight or touch if needles & would quite often faint if caught unprepared for an injection. When they told me I needed to have 4 injections a day I said we might have a bit of a problem.

I also had to stop somethings I really, really like. Grapefruit juice, black coffee with sugar, smoking, crisps (although I still manage some of these as a hypoglycaemia treatment) and wine. All gone in an instant. Replaced by half an hour each morning of injections and pill popping, 4 blood tests a day, injections when I eat, doctors, hospitals and hours in chemists.

Finally, when I sit and listen to other fatuous diabetics explaining why they can’t change something in their lifestyle while their serious diabetic complications mount up and their quality of life goes down it’s more than enough to make me want pick up a pen and try and make a change for the better. . .


The struggle between glucose and insulin. . .




30 Aug 14



31 Aug 14

The whole thing . . . (?) No too large to up load.

02 Sept 14

What does finished mean? Notes for 5 min assessment.

The video, animation, drawings and rooms are as near as they can be to a state of readiness. . .

I have up loaded a low resolution version – if people want better resolution they can always “get in touch”.

I’ve added sound, probably for at least 2 reasons.

Firstly, MF thought the animation needed sound to bridge between the seriousness of the content and the comic nature of the animation. I think he’s right and what’s more is the video / animation hybrid lends itself to melancholia / mania, which can be accentuated with music. The mundanity of the the current blood test juxtaposed against the accumulation of a life time time.

In the video I have tried to instill quite anxious, stressful loud sounds. What’s your blood glucose number? Having introduce sound to the piece it must be taken further. .

3 strand of my practice are on display.

Measured pen and ink drawing.

Quicker reactionary, pen and ink drawing.

Conceptual work – animation.

On the course I’ve tried to marry my drawing style (expressionist satirical work in pen and ink with health science communication – not easy.

When I started the course the idea was to marry my understanding of science with a different way of communicating it – Through drawing research I’ve since found out art has been doing side it’s conception.

The animation:

I’ve collected  for the past 4 years, here there are 4200 in a grid. What is the origin plus one?


1 chronic nature of  diabetes – I tried to do this through using infectious diesese imagery.

2 Educational. Diabetic can’t metabolise glucose – mad, but true.

Hence I’ve tried to show which foods glucose comes fro and how insulin (replace by injection) antagonised damaging glucose accumulation.

The animation walks a thin line between artist elements and medical education. The number of lancet caps is directly matched to the carbohydrate content of the food in the animation.

Soundtrack. During my tutorial with MF he suggested the animation needed a conduit to bridge the seriousness of the message and comic elements of the animation. I have emphasised this using melancholic music for the blood test sequence followed by metronomic but amusing, slightly manic music.

“Is it possible to satirise a disease?”

I think if I could get somebody like the satirist and broadcaster Charlie Brooker to produce a voice over for the video/animation then we may just have a positive answer to the question.

The installation:

I think the drawing on the wall with the animation works well and I am keen to try to get something install in a hospital for public view.

What keeps you going


The animation has been used already in DAFNE (diabetes education) and King’s College Hospital (a UK Centre of Excellence for diabetes education, management and research).

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