MyBrainOnDrugs

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    This is… MyBrainOnDrugs.  In 2002 I was diagnosed with HIV and unfortunately quickly progressed to an AIDS diagnosis (TCell count below 200).  Fortunately I started taking the available medications for HIV treatment.  After a long period of trying different combinations of meds I was able to fully recover and reach an “undetectable” state (viral load below a detectable state).  Prior to testing positive for HIV I suffered a case of shingles on the left side of my face.  I later learned that shingles could be a sign of a new HIV infection.  I had to get an MRI of my head to check for possible nerve damage that shingles can cause.  HIV itself and HIV drugs can also cause a type of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy that I was suffering from.  As soon as I had seen the MRI's of my brain I instantly knew that I had to do something with them.  So for over 2 years now, from concept to completion, I have been working on “MyBrainOnDrugs”.
       
    I first thought of obtaining a regular doctor's office x-ray light box to display the MRI scans of my brain.  I decide to build my own though.  I wanted to use my medicine containers as well so around the edges I glued on my used syringes and vials from a new injectable medication that I tried for awhile in order to reach undetectable.  On the backside of the frame are leftover medicine bottles for the meds which I take every day.  They house the fluorescent lights used to illuminate the scans.

    The whole process of creating MyBrainOnDrugs has worked for me on many different levels.  It has been very therapeutic psychologically in dealing with HIV.  It is empowering.  It allows me to take control and responsibility for my disease.  I can look at it in a comical way and have fun with it.  I'm even recycling my medical waste!  It can be a topic to educate and inform others about HIV.  I'm always happy and open to talking about my experience with my HIV.  It was just plain fun putting it together.    I can see my own brain and eyeballs and nasal cavities in a 360 degree view of my entire head…how cool is that!?  It felt very “mad scientist-ish” at times when I was constructing it.  I used my handheld Dremmel cordless power drill with a circular cutting blade to cut and shape the medicines bottles so they could hold the lighting fixtures in place.  The cutting blade was like one a coroner would use to open up the skull cavity of a cadaver and extract the brain.  I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.   

    One of my favorite artists is Ed Paschke (RIP).  He would visit murder/body disposal sights of serial killer victims for artistic inspiration.  I totally understand using the dark and macabre as inspiration.  The insight gained when trying to comprehend the extremes and oddities of human behavior can bring forth ideas, concepts and emotions one may not have experienced before.  Scratching/recognizing your own little dark side in a creative and open manner is healthy.  Thank you for listening and letting me express myself.  Now let”s party!!!   ;D ;D ;D

    Paul

    #197696 Reply

    Wow Paul. This is very impressive. I didn't know you were such the 'artist'. ::)

    Chris

    #197697 Reply

    That's awesome, and  a real testament to your strength of character. Not to mention very ingenious!

    #197698 Reply

    😮

    #197699 Reply
    Nemesys

      Hi Paul, This is John from South Bend, IN – used to hang out with you guys.  I love this piece and am so ivery very happy to hear that your health has improved.  I wish you continued good health and good fortune!

      I'm living in Boulder, Co right now, have no plans to come back to the midwest.  Got much deeper into Buddhist studies and Hindu devotion.  No psytrance here but it looks like you guys are blowing up! 

      Anyhow, you're a beautiful man who always had some great energy to share when I was at a difficult point in my life.  Love ya!

      John

      #197700 Reply
      underfoot

        Ever think of taking this exhibit public?  Even as a simple click-through website, it could be an informative tool…

        #197701 Reply
        jripperger

          well snaps to you! and i shudder to think of the nefarious shenanigans you get up to with that dremmel!

          #197702 Reply

          Ever think of taking this exhibit public? 

          Yeh! Talk to Liz about showing [email protected] Entheon party – perfect opportunity !!!!!

          #197703 Reply
          funkadafi

            Your a strong spirit, Paul.
            That is a truely amazing art installation.

            -Allen

            #197704 Reply

            Hey all…thank you for taking the time to look and comment.  I greatly appreciate it.  And how awesome to hear from some peeps that I haven't heard from in awhile…Chris, John, Jono…Allen, awesome, thank you!

            I'm not sure what else I want to do with it.  Def had intentions for it to be a safe sex message or at least a starting point for one.  A public website would be excellent for that in order to reach a wider audience.  Gonna have to work up to a public display since I'm still kinda shy about it.  Eventually though!  Another friend knew of a book dedicated to hiv and art.  Could never part with it…has way too much meaning for me.

            Thanks all!

            Paul   

            #197705 Reply
            HotBadBoy

              Pauly,

              I expect nothing less from you. Love it and love the attitude. Miss you and hope to see you soon 🙂

              TJ

              #197706 Reply
              Trippy Pippi

                That's awesome! Your brain is beautiful!

                #197707 Reply

                That's awesome! Your brain is beautiful!

                thanks Tripster for the kind note!  glad to have ya back!  ;D

                #197708 Reply

                Paul, that is great!
                I agree with some other comments here that you should take it public. Of course, that does not mean selling it… Or even having it leave the house. Even if you just put the picture in a more public space than our forum, it would still touch many more hearts, just like it did mine.

                Keep it up!

                #197709 Reply

                Paul, that is great!
                I agree with some other comments here that you should take it public. Of course, that does not mean selling it… Or even having it leave the house. Even if you just put the picture in a more public space than our forum, it would still touch many more hearts, just like it did mine.

                Keep it up!

                Heya Glenda!  Where have you kids been hiding?  Hope to see you and Kirk around sometime this summer.  Much thanks for the comments!

                Paul

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