Kelley Moulton Draws Inspiration from her Disease

April 22, 2011

When senior art major Kelley Moulton was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2009, she lost her desire and inspiration to create. Now that she is cancer-free and back in school, Moulton has found catharsis in creating art from body scans taken throughout her treatment process.

Moulton began making subtle manipulations to the images and her healing process became the foundation for her thesis show, titled "Work in Progress."

"It's telling my story, but it's also showing people the destruction your body can do to itself and the need for the machines and chemicals to rebuild yourself," she said.

During her treatment for the disease that attacks the lymphatic system, Moulton went through numerous tests and scans. She wondered where the images were and decided to ask for copies. Her doctor gave her discs with thousands of digital images. Moulton began to sort through them and come to terms with the disease that had changed her life so rapidly.

"It's really just a self-healing process," she said. "I wanted to surround myself with it so I could move on. It's the way I handle everything. I put it into art. I put it into photos. It just felt like the right way to do it."

Moulton wants to use her art to begin a dialogue. She wants to educate people about the realities of cancer. Many people have been exposed to cancer, but there are many others who don't believe it can happen to them or only associate the disease with breast cancer or older people.

"It's sort of the unknown. Especially from a younger person's perspective," said Moulton. "People are very careful talking about [the pieces] because it's such personal work. I don't want them to be. I'm extremely open about it. I want them to talk about it. I want the questions."

While Moulton's dream of becoming a fashion photographer has not changed because of her disease, she has developed a new perspective in her artwork that she will carry with her as she prepares to graduate this May.

The opening reception of the Bradley University Photography Thesis Exhibition is on April 30th from 6-9 p.m. at Backspace, located at 606 W. Main St. (the backside of 600 W. Main St.).

Story by Sarah Garfinkel