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Fractured fairytale

I’m going a bit off-topic here, but bear with me. The above pic of yours truly in front of the Donut Pub was taken and composited by my very dear friend Christine during my last trip to New York. First my husband’s composite shot of our kitchen, and now this. I guess I’m attracted to people with a fragmented view of the world.

Christine and I have known each other for nearly 20 years now. (Eek!) We were total BFFs for the two years we were both at SUNY Stony Brook, and remained close ever since. In 1995, she, DPaul and I started a small business together, designing and distributing graphical tees.

Just before Christmas of that year, at the tender age of 26, Christine suffered a massive stroke due to a congenital arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a contidion later made famous by Nate Fisher on Six Feet Under and most recently by Senator Tim Johnson (D-SC).

The first miracle was that she survived. The second miracle was that, though her mobility and language were impacted, her ability to design, and to use Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark, were magically untouched. The brain works in mysterious ways indeed.

In the years since the stroke, she has had a lot of time on her hands, and a continued itch to design. She began taking photos of neon signs, a longtime fascination for her, and digitally "painting" them in Illustrator with astonishing attention to detail. We have three of her works hanging in our office.

More recently, she has taken a more abstract approach, shattering the images, which always include words, and recomposing them with faces of people in her life. To me, these are poignant and powerful. I love her designs, and you can see more of them here.

Today she lives in an adorable apartment in Harlem and is rebuilding her career. If you are in the New York area and need a graphic designer hungry for the work, bring it on.

I have many relationships of considerable longevity in my life, and my friendship with Christine is one that I treasure very much.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. this is wonderful. long term relationships are utterly important and wondrous. and your college? I knw you were brethren…I went to SUNY New Paltz for 2 years. (Although much of my H.S. went to Purchase…)

  2. Ah, a fellow SUNYite. I have to say, though, I hated Stony Brook. I would have been happier at either New Paltz or Purchase – way cooler environments. Lawn Guyland is so depressing!

  3. I went to college in Israel, but I took a great course on African-American women writers with a funny little visiting professor from Stonybrook. She was 5 foot even if she was 4″10, she must’ve been pushing 80, and she chain-smoked unfiltered Marlboros. I forget her name, but what a character.
    I’m glad your friend is doing better. A friend of mine went through something similar, no stroke, but two surgeries to remove the AVM. Thank the gods, she’s doing very well now.
    I really like your friend’s work. That’s a pretty cool slide show she’s set up as well.

  4. Thanks, Shelly — I actually set up the slideshow for her. is a pretty cool tool, but I wish you could pay cash money and strip out all the branding and crap. I find it distracting. Still, it’s a really easy way to assemble images in user-friendly way.

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