Last month, I had the privilege of interviewing local Pennsylvania artist Oana Bollt. Her work is unique because it captures persons, places and things that are adored by loved ones suffering from cancer. When Bollt was at their bedside, she quickly learned that coping with cancer was not easy. Bollt saw first-hand how cancer affects a person on many levels, including their mind, body and soul.
According to Bollt, at times, patients were too weak to leave their bed or home. Bollt uses art to bring the “outdoor” scenes “indoors” for patients. To help cancer patients feel better, she gifted them with art paintings of their favorite places and scenery. With the explicit goal to improve cancer treatment, Bollt earned a science degree in chemistry at NYU and became a research technologist. Bollt is part of a cancer research team at Penn State Cancer Institute. Bollt defines medicine as both science and art. Below are highlights of my interview with Bollt.
Please tell me about yourself?
My name is Oana Bollt. I was born and grew up in Romania. I moved to United States in 1995. I work in medical research in the lung-cancer field at Penn State Milton S. Hershey College of Medicine, Cancer Institute.
Cancer prevention, treatment and control efforts are very important to you. Why?
I have worked in the medical field most of my adult life. I have witnessed firsthand people suffering from cancer. Some of my loved ones even died of cancer. It is important for me to attempt to help and find a cure for incurable diseases. Treatment discovery and disease mechanism is the area that I work tirelessly in.
Are we making advancements in cancer prevention and cancer treatment?
Yes. We have made significant advancements in medicine. We have cancer-screening options available for several cancers like colorectal cancer and breast cancer. Screenings save lives. Early detection helps improve survivorship. There are some cancers that can’t be prevented, but they can be treated if discovered early. I believe that awareness and education are the keys to cancer prevention and control.
I saw your beautiful art paintings displayed at a local gallery. Where do you draw your inspiration for your paintings?
My paintings are inspired by nature and color. And by life experiences and my client’s personal stories and emotional connection to the subject matter.
My paintings capture their story or a special memory. I try to bring them a bit of joy, a smile, by using art. To me, medicine is both science and art. I am often reminded that both are sometimes needed for healing.
You recently received an honorable mentioned award by Wild Onions for your art work. Congratulations!
Thank you. It was an honor to receive the award. Honestly, I didn’t realize the impact that my art paintings would have on others. I am learning that how a person feels is important. And that art can help people feel a bit better. In my case, I have seen my art help create smiles, even for cancer patients undergoing treatment. Patients (and their families) often tell me that my art paintings are uplifting. They bring a person joy, hope and a bit of healing. I am hopeful that this is true.
Where is your art displayed now? And where can one buy your art?
My art is displayed at local galleries. Currently, it is being displayed at two galleries – Art & Soul Gallery in Lemoyne and Artisan Republic in Elizabethtown until the end of June. My art is also available online at my Facebook page, Oana Bollt Fine Art. I support organizations with a health outreach. So you can also find my art as silent-auction items at some of their fundraising events. These include PA Prostate Cancer Coalition (PPCC) and Muscular Dystrophy Association of Hawaii. One can also contact me privately for all their art needs.
Where can one reach you for speaking engagements, art pieces and commission work?
I can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone, (808) 372-7969.
What does every person need to know about art?
That art is very personal. The artist has an emotional connection with the scene he or she creates. That emotional call is received by the viewer who is moved. Most people purchase art because it goes with their decor, and there is nothing wrong with that. For few people though, it becomes part of them, an extension of them just as it once was an extension of the artist.
Although painting is, by its nature, an individual activity, painting in a group creates invisible bonds and lends supportive and encouraging ties that are hard to break. I encourage everyone to pick up a brush and a canvas and try creating something. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but just think, a whole new world filled with colors will open up to you.
I hope you learned a little more about local artist Oana Bollt and her art work. Feel free to contact her directly. I know I will because it is a perfect gift for my loved ones. Happy Father’s Day!
Please send me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can help keep Pennsylvania residents healthy. ¡Salud! ◆