Graphic Medicine has ended
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Emily Steinberg

Penn State University/Abington College
Artist/Graphic Novelist
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
I am a painter and a graphic novelist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

To process is human. To laugh is divine. Creatives are often plagued with depression. I was/am not exempt and slogged through some extremely bleak times as a young and not so young struggling artist. One way for me to process the grimness, in addition to therapy and meds, was to put down the brush and begin to write and draw it out. The combination of words and images proved to me way more powerful than either practice on them own. The act of creating a visual narrative recasts a depressive experience into something new, less painful and sometimes even laugh out loud funny.

In Graphic Therapy, a memoir in black and white, published SMITH Magazine, 2008-2010, the central relationship is between the author and Vic, her shrink. Each chapter is called a session and the duo examine Nazi-phobia, Weight Issues, pesky singledom and the ongoing artistic existential abyss with vividly blunt drawing and words.

Broken Eggs, published Cleaver Magazine, 2014, is a 67 page visual narrative which focuses exclusively on infertility and my experience of the fertility treatment nightmare. Here, images, are wildly, sometimes grossly, exaggerated. Color is flung about as emotion and words, repeated and enlarged, become a big part of each page composition. Images convey a sense of loss of control, of feeling like an experimental animal.

At the moment, I'm exploring my mother's 6 year stint with frontal lobe dementia and the subsequent familial psychic fallout in a new story called The Gondolier in the Bathroom.

These stories are a way to process and in effect neutralize acutely painful life events. My hope, in creating such visual narratives, is to give others a voice they can identify with, force open the shrouded box of pain around such intimate issues and allow the light in.

I currently teach painting and graphic novel at Penn State Abington College.