Chest 95; A race against time

10 Nov

First, I must thank Jörg Kruth for very kindly nominating me for the Sunshine Award. It’s a beautiful thought, and I’ll be delighted to pass it on to other bloggers. I have found the experience of blogging to be extremely rewarding, in building my confidence as an artist, and to receive the generous encouragement and helpful comments of other artists far more talented than I. So; vielen Dank Jörg. Ich wünsche Ihnen Glück und Sonnenschein.

Friday 8th November was the International Day of Radiology and our department celebrated with a short scientific meeting. I was kindly asked to speak about art in Radiology, and since so many requests had come “How do you do it” proposed to create a picture in front of the group using Photoshop and one of my teaching file X-rays.


Chest 95; A race against time

The extent to which it was a successful attempt is visible in the accompanying picture. It had to be created in just 15 minutes, so it was a race against time. The finished product is anything but finished, it would have been good to do lots more… but I present it here as it appeared on the day.

The index X-ray was of a woman with a mastectomy for breast cancer who subsequently developed a large malignant lump in the chest adjacent to the heart. It is a good teaching film because the neophyte will call it an enlarged heart and fail to notice the missing breast. Image

Even if the signs are correctly observed, they must correlate information into a coherent diagnosis – either metastatic breast cancer, or a new cancer such as a lymphoma, and further discuss investigation. In the final artwork I wished to focus on breast cancer awareness, draw out the idea of cancer spreading in the body, and highlight the fact that even young women may be affected. Over the background texture – an industrial board stained pink, photographed in Russia – I layered two photos of a seed pod picked up in Hawaii, and extracted the beautiful central spiral to give a crab-like structure linking the figure to the chest X-ray.


Also included is a beautiful girl in a lovely dress at the race-track, striding through the layers of the picture. I placed her behind the seed-pod wings so as to hide her face and retain her anonymity.


Whilst constructing the picture in front of an audience, I realised how difficult it is to do art on demand – the time factor, describing what I was doing, interpreting the result, all the time trying to hang images together cohesively was almost more than can be dealt with at once. Further, when lecturing I like to look at the audience and gauge their response as I go along. With eyes fixed on the developing artwork that became very difficult. Being able to do all this with aplomb is the attribute of a consummate performer, which I am not.


5 Responses to “Chest 95; A race against time”

  1. leecleland at 6:50 pm #

    Wow! I’m impressed by a lot of things with this post. Although not finished to your liking I find it speaks to me of the incredible invasiveness of breast cancer, that centre of the seed pod looks like an all consuming beastie. That you did it in 15 minutes , that the group showed the interest in the first place, that you could do it in front of an audience and keep your thoughts together and one step ahead of what you were actually showing, phew my head hurts just thinking about it. Congratulations on what you did achieve, showing others the possibilities of image making.

    • Xraypics at 7:43 pm #

      Hi, Lee, Thankyou so much for your kind comments and encouragement. Despite the stress and tension involved presenting this little project to my colleagues was fun. It wasn’t absolutely spontaneous, I had thought about it hard beforehand and done things to save time like putting pictures intended for use together in a single file. Still, manipulating them on a touch-pad without a mouse made it unnecessarily hard. You live and learn. Cheerio, and thanks again. Tony

  2. burgessart at 10:25 pm #

    Congratulations Tony for many things….., awards, your presentation, your work, your art and sharing it all. A massive task and very well done.

    • Xraypics at 10:40 pm #

      Thankyou very much Robert. I don’t know quite what to say, but I have a passion for this, it is as though I have found something I never really knew was inside and in a way it is taking me over. It is through encouragement of yourself and others on this Blogsite that I’ve been spurred on. Cheers, Tony

      • burgessart at 11:06 am #

        Tony….obviously you are very good at what you do but it is that special something inside you that will make you totally unique. Honour it, trust it and who knows where it will lead you……as you are already finding…….best wishes, Robert

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: