Jeff: So Myron, it’s not everyday that someone is offered to paint a hospital room at Rush University Medical Center. Tell me about how the opportunity came up.
Myron: Ha ha, yeah I know. I was actually a general volunteer at the hospital. I would do things like transport patients, get wheelchairs, deliver water, and deliver flowers. You know, anything that they would need, they would call me for help. One of the things that I would do while I was waiting around, though, was I would sketch and draw to pass the time. One of the doctors from the dialysis unit one day actually started noticing my sketches and drawings. She really enjoyed my art and came up with the idea to paint one of the rooms. She wanted something playful, but also useful.
Jeff: Wow so it was that easy?
Myron: It wasn’t that easy, but at the same time it was ha ha.
Jeff: So what was the room being used as then?
Myron: The room was used for children who had kidney failure and they would go here for dialysis. That means that their kidneys don’t function properly so they had to use a machine to filter and clean their blood. This is something that your kidneys would normally do for you. Each time they had 4-5 hours of dialysis. It was definitely a long time for a child to just be sitting there and before I painted the walls, it was just a pale shade of blue
Jeff: What was your vision for the project and what did you want to come out of it?
Myron: I really wanted the pictures to distract them from what the kids were going through. I wanted things like lots of animals and blue sky to set a very light and happy mood.
One of the things that I did was I did a “Where’s Waldo” kind of thing. I made a few things that were hard to find so that the nurses could kind of play a game with them to find the different objects. For example there were things like a boot, fire hydrant, banana, stool, and a water bottle. The nurse would ask them to find the various objects with the intention to distract them for at least a small amount of time from the dialysis. It was a fun a kind of thing.
Jeff: That’s awesome. I love the idea! So have you been able to see it being put to use?
Myron: There were a couple times where I would see the kids and asked them what they thought of the walls. Overall they liked it, but the most feedback I got back was from the custodian. He works there throughout the day and just talked about how much the kids liked it. He mentioned how one kid just fell in love with it and couldn’t stop looking and playing with the wall. The boy just got lost in the pictures.
Jeff: That must be a good feeling, right?
Myron: Yeah, it was definitely a good feeling to know that my art has made a positive impact. I think of art as my form of therapy sometimes. It’s something that I’ve always been doing and it’s just a part of me. People say it’s my hobby, but its so much more than just a hobby. One thing I like to do is mix cartoony characters with life-like twist to it. One thing that I love doing is drawing and sketching people on the train a lot.
Jeff: That’s hilarious! They never notice?
Myron: Nah, I’m super sneaky like that ha ha.
Jeff: What’s the biggest thing that you learned through this entire experience?
Myron: The biggest thing I got coming out of this was just a sense of accomplishment and completion because I rarely complete my projects. Sometimes it takes a long time to complete a small 8” x 11” piece, but the fact that I was able and capable of making a mural that size showed me that I can do great things if I really want to. It was reminder that you can do a lot more than you think you can.
Watch our short documentary “MYRON”
For more info and pictures of Myron’s work, please check out Myronlaban.wordpress.com!