Thoughts on a Beach

Thoughts on a Beach, from the Metamorphosis series, 2011

It was during medical school at the University of Chicago, that I became overtaken by the love of art—I created oil paintings, visited art galleries and museums, and studied the history of art. Over four years, the passion for art grew so strong, that after completing internship, I had to leave medicine entirely, and dedicate myself to art. During internship my one year’s salary was $10,000. I saved every penny and lived like a church mouse, so that I could start my career in art.

During the years that were fully dedicated to art, I had many exhibits and received favorable reviews.  I also studied the accomplishments of the Lithuanian painter and composer M. K. Ciurlionis. I made many original discoveries which were published at the time, and eventually were included in my book Ciurlionis: Mintys / Thoughts. My full-time commitment to art lasted three years, at which point I realized that I was not using my talents in neurology. I wanted to help others overcome their illnesses and disabilities. I then started neurology training at the Mayo Clinic and combined my art with my neuroscience interests.

I saved the typewriter ribbons that I had used to write my Ciurlionis manuscripts. In 1987, while working at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, I placed some of the ribbons on Sunnyside beach, on the shore of Lake Ontario. On the typewriter ribbon the letters that I typed can be seen and read–my thoughts, moment to moment, were fully documented and could be reconstructed. A photograph of this outdoor instalation was transformed to create Thoughts on a Beach. The original photograph was:

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