Stampede is part of the Safari Series. It has been exhibited at MAHEC in Asheville, NC in 2016, at the Westside Co-Op in trendy West Asheville during 2016 and 2017, and at the Contemporary Art Exchange in Washington, NC in 2019. It was recognized and licensed by the Dysautonomia International non-profit for reprinting on popsockets and prints to help raise money for the organization which provides research and support for dysautonomia, a condition which falls under the Ehlers-Danlos diagnosis.
“Stampede” came together in a flash of vision and inspiration. Occasionally, paintings come to me like this one: complete and fully formed to the last detail. I did the barest of paint sketches before launching right into the contours and stripes of the wild animals, driven to bind themselves together and travel. While they will be wild-eyed and panicky when being chased, these zebras are melding themselves into a group – called a “dazzle.”
“When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.”
This piece represents the genetic condition I was born with: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Because it is poorly understood and defies traditional and more mundane medical explanations, EDS’s mascot is the zebra. This is rooted in medicine’s commonly-taught phrase which instructs physicians to look at the more common explanations (horses) before they evaluate more exotic ones (zebras). When physicians work with EDS patients, they often need to think in terms of zebras rather than horses, because many patients have multiple rare conditions that coexist with or are caused by EDS.
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is an inherited collagen defect. The collagen produced by patients with EDS is weak and stretchy, which in my case causes hypermobile joints, widespread pain, frequent injuries, and symptoms and problems in every body system. Each patient has his or her own “fingerprint” of specific symptoms, comorbidities, and injuries, which are as unique as a zebra’s stripes.
For more information, please visit www.ehlers-danlos.com
24″x48″ Acrylic on Canvas.