ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — “What I like about it is that there is taking something that’s natural, and morphing it into something else.” That theme of taking something simple and making into the personal fuels artist Megan Farrell.
She is a Webster native, and went through Rochester schools. And after a brief sojourn in Elizabethtown College. she’s back in Rochester, creating anatomical drawings on delicately burned pieces of wood.
“There is just nothing like the creative community here,” Farrell said. “People love to help each other to get better. There’s none of that weird competition. It’s good competition, but none of that cattiness I experienced in other places.”
Her anatomical drawings could fall under the discipline of medical illustration. Colleges have majors dedicated to the practice, and it goes even as far back at Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings.
Majoring in occupational therapy means that she also took anatomy, physiology, and kineses classes. But the love for this craft doesn’t just come from one class.
Her true inspiration for this craft comes from her own personal experience.
“I’ve been forcibly immersed in the medical community for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I’ve had a complex healthy jounrey. I was the fifth grade who came in from out of school and explaining to kids how kidney stones work.”
While she might not have been happy to have kidney stones, she recalls with a beaming grin and eyes alight how cool it was to learn about it for he first time and to share her passion.
“I needed to understand what was going on with my own health, and the pathology of what I wanted to end up doing,” she said. “And as a creative outlet, trying to cope with what the heck is happening.”
She started this venture into wood burning simply, with brains and hearts, after finding her dad’s soldering iron.
“I think I can burn things with this,” she said with gleeful determinism.
Most medical illustrations happen in paper textbooks, or medical digital resources, like WedMD.
She says it wasn’t only just the natural medium of wood she enjoys, but how it falls between two disciplines, just like how medical illustrations bridges the gap of science and art.
“Wood burning is somewhere a 2D and 3D art, there’s no much opportunity for texture and layers,” she said. “But if you make a mistake, it’s hard to fix it. You have to get creative.”
But most importantly for Farrell, the slow and tedious process, which involves multiple sketches before the burning, has an incredible personal reward.
Humanizing their own problems, and seeing a reflection of her journey in others.
“It’s really overwhelming, and once a week I cry saying ‘I can’t believe people like what I do,'” she said, parodying her own emotional state. “It’s really strange.”
“When I first started, I was doing flowers and words and that kind of stuff, and I dipped in my toe in, and I wasn’t sure how the reception would be,” she said. “Even if someone sees a piece, and they don’t know what it is, as soon as they understand what it is, they either known or have a personal experience in that body part or organ.”
“It takes this thing that people think is macabre, and it humanizes it… This still does feel real to me,” she said.