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This Artist with MS Turns Her MRIs into Art

July 7, 2016

As a civil rights layer in the 1970s and ‘80s, Elizabeth Jameson first began defending children with chronic illness and disabilities then eventually began fighting for gender equality. She worked in the White House on healthy policy alongside at-the-time First Lady Hillary Clinton, in the late 80s was when she learned she had a brain lesion in a part of her brain called Broca’s area, then diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1991.

When she could no longer practice law, she went to art school where she found her talent for painting, she is now known for her silk paintings and copper etching prints derived from her MRI scans. She also uses paints, colored pencil and chalk pastel to enhance the color of the MRI images that have been transferred onto aluminum plates.

She decided by creating her art she had to give back to her community, who now were those also dealing with neurological disabilities.

Jameson transformed the black-and-white depressing MRI scans that she received frequently post-diagnosis into colorful art that captured the beautiful details of the brain which included splintering veins, delicate folds and even intruding scar tissue and lesions caused by MS. She said, “The brain is all compressed in the skill. If you decompress it there’s a world’s worth of fascinating shapes and colors.”

Jameson said she didn’t want to look at the actual MRIs. “They were black white and ugly and I just didn’t even want to look at them.  A lot of patients feel the same way. I want to take the fear out of looking at MRIs.”