I am a nurse working in the operating room at Ascension Hospital in Rochester Hills, MI. I have worked there for 17 years. I got inspired to save drug caps from the vials used at work (along with other medical accessories we dispose of), from my favorite preoperative nurse Cheryl, who inspired me to me to make something special. Yet what to make? I planned a mosaic design, yet which subject was yet to be determined (actually looking back it was actually predetermined). Drug vial caps have, and continue to be thrown out, from everyone, including myself until I thought to recycle them into art. These caps have an unique beauty that I began an appreciate. Since I am a nurse, a scientist, an artist, coming up with so many colorful caps, when the Covid pandemic, this work was meant to be created! I just didn’t realize the vision I wanted would take two to three layers of caps (also 2-3 more the amount of time and effort). Back in 2019, initially saving and sorting caps (my son Stephen and daughter Stephanie sorted a majority), I thought to design a hospital or Monet scene using the dot effect these caps provide. Then January 2020 came, and Covid happened, which changed my design plan 180 degrees- or perhaps more appropriately it magnified it. I was learning about this new virus, but yet recalled learning about another virus, from 100 years ago that devastated the world and it also took many more lives- on a percentage basis (it was approximately 57 times more deadly for comparison purposes). But why did it happen back then- and why again? The answer lyes in that after 100 years, we realize once again, that not only are environmental and political changes important, but that viruses are another important challenge our world faces and that even microscopic structures have a profound potential for devastation and destruction. Viruses are 10 times smaller than a grain of salt, but have an astounding impact on us all, obivously on our health, mental wellness, work, travel, and community and family relationships. Covid has impacted some individuals severely with long lasting effects, it can be deadly, yet there are people who barely are affected- why is that? The answer may lye in our human biology and immunology, in that what makes us unique, can also make us vulnerable. These caps shown here, with different: colors, shapes, sizes, finishes and all their different potential combinations, makes this work ultra unique- yet just imagine a human organisms immune system. We have trillions upon billions of possible combinations (this is conjecture and likely a very low guess). The beautiful cap combination here can not possibly begin to compete with our astonishing internal variability, yet it is able to depict some of it and that is very exciting. This project, on a deeper level, is actually showing us that what is hidden inside really does matter more than a lot of things that we see on the outside, and that as is with the human body is also true for the ‘real world’. Our intracellular differences make up more than what is happening exteriorly, yet the internal is not apparent and often ignored. Whether we talk about scams, false advertising, social media (consider all the sources of input kids and teenagers face and struggle with) that tells us how to act, look, and making ‘popular’ the end goal. So it seems the outside world can work against us, yet what it takes to overcome those attacks lyes within! Those that grew up before the internet, yet that also use it today, acknowledge the benefits it has to offer, but are also have the wisdom to know the potential dangers. Yes Covid has exposed some of our differences, as we witness that there are those more vulnerable. Throughout this period many of us have witnessed, and/or heard of healthy young people that died, became extremely sick, or continue to struggle with lasting impacts; yet we also can say that there were older, individuals with underlying health conditions that made a complete recovery. Also some people barely even knew they had been infected, even though testing as Covid positive. Through studying Covid, medical scientists, doctors, nurses, have learned about how specific treatments, drugs and antibodies can help those prone to illness through a proper physiological, pharmacological and immune response and help them to recover. I have a Nursing degree, a Biochemistry degree and a Masters in Anesthesia. I took Immunology at UM Dearborn with Dr. Adler and that course opened my mind to the power of tiny organisms that are consistently ready to attack us, but more importantly that we have an innate ability to defend and fight, even against Covid. I have a commitment to represent this moment in time. I was scared of this virus just as much so as any one of us were, we didn't travel or even go to the grocery store (we even wiped our groceries with limited Clorox wipes. Let us face this our lives were changed in 2020, and still today in late 2021, vacations, parties, school, work, dinning, family events, core fundamentals to our daily lives. But through studying and understanding Covid, and continuing to learn, we can fight this battle. Just imagine one hundred years ago, they had less resources and knowledge, yet those in the health care field, along with other brave essential workers and volunteers, fought an even tougher battle. This project is an accumulation, a reflection, an ongoing education, an experience, a dedication, to make a statement that those in healthcare and beyond continue to do what they can to help the community through this pandemic, Communities are now getting vaccinated, and pharmaceutical labs are consistently working on developing vaccines (they even stopped other drug therapy production for this purpose). Health care professionals have continued to work together. We are those defensive cells shown here in this artistic representation, we fight against Covid in more ways than one. So many brave colleagues did a big part- and my biggest contribution has been to represent how our bodies have, and continue to battle, through this art form. Currently, as I am at the completion of this work, I will continue to save and glue caps thru the ArtPrize I have and continue to obtain, as well as receive support from friends that continue to share with me some valuable caps that can amazingly complement, what may have seemed already complete. I am very grateful for them and for allowing myself this opportunity to do so. The additions will be very small, yet included onto the top layer- you know who you are and know it's there, and a big thank you! Thank you to my family for putting up with me thru all the countless hours and late weekend nights, they always knew where to find me, in the basement, and they also know dinner was not made, and it was ok (I think?), please know I love you all for allowing me this, and that your little extra help meant an extra lot Stephanie.
Donna's ArtPrize Entries
These are Donna's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.
Donna's Past Work
These are images of past work that Donna has done.