Lance Armstrong once said, “Without the illness I would never have been forced to re-evaluate my life and my career. I know if I had not had cancer, I would not have won the Tour de France”. Even at my age (I’m 46) I’m a mad keen cyclist and Lance is one of my all time heroes. He fought long odds against cancer to win the toughest race in the world seven times in a row.
On January 25th 2008 I was also diagnosed with the disease that in reality touches everyone’s life in some way. My own personal version was stage 3 colon cancer and I was given a fifty-fifty chance of survival. My life also changed forever. Following the diagnosis procedures moved extremely quickly. I had surgery within the month and then was given an intensive eight-month course of chemotherapy. If I had the means, integrative therapy would have been part of my cancer plan – but as a new immigrant to Canada, it was simply out of the question.
I am a sculpture by profession, but my work became nonexistent over night; I was completely unable to deal with the notion of making what could well be my final works… ever. This fallow period became both frustrating and barren for me. It took almost eighteen months before I was ready and confident enough to engage in the creative process again and begin making work. I truly believe that my work and creativity helped me heal and enter the new phase of my life – and how fortunate I am to be able to create again.
My latest body of work emerged from my experience with cancer and represents a genuine, honest attempt by myself to explore and evaluate my own very changed human condition within the sculptural context. In a sense, the works are a kind of therapy and represent an irresistible urge from myself to pull some light from the darkness, some shred of positive energy to cancel out the negative. To try and make some sense of it all and have a deeper understanding of the rollercoaster journey into cellular purgatory.
The work is essentially about the ongoing experience, an attempt to contextualize in the physical the effects both on me as a person and at a more intense, visceral level the inevitable neurosis within.
Lance also said, “I want to die at 100 years old with an American flag on my back and the star of Texas on my helmet after screaming down an alpine descent on a bicycle at 120 kilometres an hour” I’d like to be riding right there with him.......