Entering Ends 4/30/2024 at 11:59:59 PM | Voting Starts 5/1/2024 at 12:00:00 AM Eastern Time

Self portrait of a survivor

Self portrait of a survivor
Tara Berg

Brain Tumor Type

Date of Diagnosis

Participant Group
Brain Tumor Survivor / 21 and over

Drawing/Painting/Printmaking/Chalk Art

Artist Statement (include type of art, techniques & materials used, what it means to you)
My “self portrait of a survivor” was done with pen and ink on cardstock. Art is something I get lost in and takes me to a place of calm, I have been involved in art my entire life and find great comfort in creating. My art is a way to communicate how I am feeling when there are no words to describe. That is why I created the self portrait of a survivor. A little background, in four short years I have been diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma, brain aneurysm, lupus, early breast cancer with a lumpectomy, kidney issues related to lupus, chronic asthma, pneumonia, Covid pneumonia and celiac disease. Recently my health took a horrible turn with a hospitalization on December 24th for a sepsis kidney infection. Since December I have been in and out of the hospital often because the infection spread. I created this drawing about one month ago when I was going through a very difficult time both mentally and physically. I wanted to convey all the emotions I was feeling at the time. The artwork shows me covering my face partially with my hands which means not wanting to accept or face the health crisis I am enduring. In addition my intention is to invoke the feelings of sadness that goes along with a major health issue. There is a great deal of fear and depression that comes with a health diagnosis. Covering my face is a metaphor for not recognizing myself. I feel myself inside but trapped in a sick body.. Regarding the tattoos, I enjoy drawing tattoos for friends and family. I don’t know how to actually tattoo but I draw them for people and myself. I have always wanted to learn how to tattoo. That is where the tattoos come into play with the art. I don’t have that many but my alter ego and love of tattoo art would have that many. The past 4 months have been the hardest of my life. I am only 52 years old it is unbelievable to me that I have so many health issues. Health is everything . I still have a life to live, and I want to go live it. Right now I’m very ill and not able to do much. I will continue to do my art. I’ll get through this. I’ll continue to do everything I can to get healthy. I’m quite the fighter!

Artist Bio: Tell Us Your Story
My name is Tara Berg. I am an artist that is 52 years old . I am from Laurel Springs, NJ. I was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma and brain aneurysm two years ago, I also have lupus and other serious health issues. Regarding my art career, I graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia with a degree in graphic design. I worked in art for many years then switched to working with special needs children in elementary education the past 10+ years.. Due to health issues in January I had to give up my full time job in elementary education. The past year has been very difficult. Not only can I not work full time, I have not been able to take on art projects I love. I also work out of my home in my detached garage that was converted into an art studio. I enjoy redoing furniture, painting large scale on canvas with oil and acrylic and pen and ink drawings. The pen and ink self portrait I entered for the contest was created during a time when I was going through a lot both mentally and physically. I have s great support system. I have a wonderful loving husband Mark who is a 7th grade math teacher. He is the funniest guy you’ll ever meet. We have two children ages 24 and 18. . Our 24 year old son is an electrician and daughter, age 18, attends college for nursing. I am so proud of them. I have the most wonderful supportive family; mom, dad, mother & father in law, sister & in laws, nieces, nephews and life long friends. I hope that I can continue to get better to enjoy life to the fullest with my family & friends.. My health issues put a lot of stress on all of them. In the meantime I’ll focus on getting healthier and I’ll continue creating artwork.

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