Fearless Portraits

Presenting Fearless Portraits, stories of women leaders, innovators, and trailblazers. Some of them are well-known, some are obscure, all of them worked to make a difference in the world. In each episode, you’ll learn the story of an amazing changemaker in the time it takes to drink your morning coffee. Fearless Portraits is hosted by Dan Landau, a New Jersey-based visual artist who repurposes maps and other items with ink drawings and intricate papercutting to create portraits of people and things.

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Tuesday Jul 05, 2022

“There is only one thing worse than coming from the lab to a sink full of dirty dishes and that is not going to the lab at all.”
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu (吳健雄)
Experimental physicist, known as the “First Lady of Physics”
The Artwork:
Wu’s portrait in the Fearless Portraits project consists of an Ink drawing on a map of Manhattan, New York City. Columbia University, where she worked, is located in the collar of her lab coat on the left side.
The Story:
The laws of physics are immutable. Constants in an ever-changing universe. Since 1925, physicists had accepted the parity principle—which dictates that nature is symmetrical and two mirror-image systems will behave in identical fashion to each other—as scientific fact. 
That is, until 30 years later, when Dr. Wu did the impossible and proved the Law of Conservation of Parity wrong. 
A world-renowned physicist at Columbia University, Wu was approached by colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang in 1956 with the idea of testing a theory on the parity principle’s limitations. Famously dedicated to her work, Wu canceled her planned trip to Europe and Asia to test the theory she herself gave a one-in-a-million chance of being correct. 
Her experiment found electrons behaving asymmetrically, shattering what had been a fundamental concept in nuclear physics. Her findings shocked the scientific community and won the Nobel Prize in Physics the following year. In what was widely panned as one of the greatest mistakes by the Nobel committee, the award went to Wu’s collaborators, Yang and Lee, while Wu herself was not honored for her monumental achievement until 1978 when she was given the inaugural Wolf Prize.
Background on Wu
The Nobel snub was far from the first time Wu encountered sexism. 
Born on May 31, 1912, in the village of Liuhe in Jiangsu province, China, near Shanghai. There was no school for girls in the village, so her father founded one. She excelled in her studies, going on to college and graduating at the top of her class with a degree in physics in 1934. 
She came to the US to continue her studies at the University of Michigan, but was shocked at the sexism she encountered. Upon learning female students were not even allowed to use the front entrance at UMich, she enrolled at UC Berkeley where she earned her Ph.D.
Shortly after, in 1942, she took a job at Princeton University, where she became the first woman hired as a faculty member of the physics department. Two years later, she joined Manhattan Project’s laboratories at Columbia University. She stayed at Columbia until her retirement in 1981. 
Wu traveled and lectured widely, encouraging young women to follow in her footsteps and build careers in STEM. A fierce critic of gender barriers and discrimination—particularly in science—she said, “I sincerely doubt that any open-minded person really believes in the notion that women have no intellectual capacity for science and technology.”
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Hot_Music.
Atomic Heritage Foundation. (n.d.). Chien-Shiung Wu. https://www.atomicheritage.org/profile/chien-shiung-wu 
A-Z Quotes. (n.d.). Chien-Shiung Wu Quote. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/763081 
Jones, M. (2014, March 30). Chien-Shiung Wu: The First Lady of Physics. Futurism. https://futurism.com/chien-shiung-wu-the-first-lady-of-physics 
Leah Melle, [@leahmelle]. (2021, April 21). Verified Notable women in science youve probably never heard about by @leahmelle 🙌👆 [Instagram post]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CN5Y5sylSqW/?igshid=8ga7184ilojy 
National Park Service. (n.d.). Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, The First Lady of Physics (U.S. National Park Service). https://www.nps.gov/people/dr-chien-shiung-wu-the-first-lady-of-physics.htm 
New York Historical Society. (2021, June 24). Life Story: Chien-Shiung Wu, 1912–1997. Women & the American Story. https://wams.nyhistory.org/confidence-and-crises/world-war-ii/chien-shiung-wu/ 
NIST. (2016, September 26). The Reversal of Parity Law in Nuclear Physics. https://www.nist.gov/pml/fall-parity/reversal-parity-law-nuclear-physics 
UKRI. (2018, February 18). Chien-Shiung Wu. UKRI.Org. https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20211223122104/https://stfc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/features/chien-shiung-wu/ 
Wikipedia contributors. (2022a, April 17). Wu experiment. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_experiment
Wikipedia contributors. (2022b, June 8). Chien-Shiung Wu. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chien-Shiung_Wu

Tuesday Jun 21, 2022

“Economics should be about caring for real people.”
Janet Yellen
First female Secretary of the Treasury
First female Chair of the Federal Reserve
Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors
First person to hold all three roles
The Artwork:
Yellen’s portrait in the Fearless Portraits project consists of an Ink and colored pencil drawing on a map of San Francisco. She’s wearing a purple blazer with her trademarked popped collar. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco she presided over from 2004 – 2010 is on the right side of the map, just over her shoulder. 
The Story:
Janet Yellen’s philosophy on how economics should be about caring for real people had its roots in her childhood. Growing up in a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood, she watched a stream of factory workers and dock hands visit her father’s medical practice, paying $2 cash to be seen, or not paying if they couldn’t. “I came to understand the effect that unemployment could have on people in human terms,” she says. 
This philosophy was solidified in college during a macroeconomics lecture: “I remember sitting in class and learning about how there were policy decisions that could have been taken during the Great Depression to alleviate all that human suffering—that was a real ‘aha’ moment for me. I realized that public policy can, and should, address these problems.”
Fast forward 50 years and Yellen—in her role as president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank—would be among the first to raise concerns about the impending subprime mortgage bubble. Later, as vice chair of the Fed and then chair of the Fed, she oversaw a controversial plan to buy trillions of dollars in assets to prevent the economy from further collapse. Called quantitative easing, the plan may well have been the difference between keeping a job or losing it for millions of workers in the US economy. 
Yellen’s human-centric economics mindset was a marked shift in thinking for the Federal Reserve and later to the Department of the Treasury. As she put it, the job of central bankers as she sees it, “isn’t just about fighting inflation or monitoring the financial system. It’s about trying to help ordinary households get back on their feet and about creating a labor market where people can feel secure and work and get ahead.” 
In her long and distinguished career, Yellen served as one of President Clinton’s top aides, chairing the Council of Economic Advisors. Then, she led the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and became the first female Chair of the Federal Reserve system in 2014. Five days into Joe Biden’s presidency, Yellen was confirmed by the Senate as the first female Secretary of the Treasury. She is the first person in history to hold all three of the US’s top economic positions. 
Background on Yellen:
Yellen’s household is a true economics powerhouse. She’s married to Nobel laureate and UC Berkeley professor George Akerlof and their son, Robert, is also an economics professor. 
Aside from collaborating on raising their son together, (Yellen notes that if all hours on parenting and housework were added up, Akerlof did “more than 50%”) the economics super couple also co-wrote a famous paper together. Drawing on their experience hiring a babysitter for their son, the paper illuminates why lower wages don’t always lead to higher employment. 
“Firms are not always willing to cut wages, even if there are people lined up outside the gates to work. So, why don’t they?” asks Yellen. Their conclusion was that some companies choose to pay higher wages to attract better talent and motivate their employees to do good work. 
As Yellen notes, “When you hire a nanny, the question you ask yourself is, ‘what’s best for my precious child?’ And do you really want someone who feels that your motive in life is to minimize the amount you spend on your child?”
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Praz Khanal.
Akerlof, G. A., & Yellen, J. L. (1988). Fairness and Unemployment. The American Economic Review, 78(2), 44–49. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1818095
Akerlof, G. A., & Yellen, J. L. (1990). The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 105(2), 255. https://doi.org/10.2307/2937787 
Amadeo, K. (2021, March 4). Who Was the Only Female Federal Reserve Chair? The Balance. https://www.thebalance.com/janet-yellen-3305503 
Appelbaum, B., & Couturier, K. (n.d.). Yellen’s Path to the Pinnacle. Timeline - NYTimes.Com. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/yellen-timeline.html#/#time276_7992 
Bell, S. (2018, January 24). The Tragedy of Janet Yellen. POLITICO Magazine. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/24/janet-yellen-fed-chair-donald-trump-216509/ 
Chozick, A. (2017, December 11). Janet Yellen Didn’t Set Out to Be a Feminist Hero. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/09/business/janet-yellen-didnt-set-out-to-be-a-feminist-hero.html 
Counts, L. (2021, January 12). Prof. Janet Yellen, trailblazing former Fed chair, is Biden’s Treasury pick. Haas News | Berkeley Haas. https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/research/janet-yellen-former-fed-chair-bidens-expected-treasury-pick/ 
Foroohar, R. (2014, January 20). Janet Yellen: The Sixteen Trillion Dollar Woman. TIME.Com. http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,2162267,00.html 
Gibbs, N. (2014, January 9). The Most Unprecedented Thing About Janet Yellen. Time. https://time.com/275/nancy-gibbs-janet-yellen/ 
Graveline, D. (2017, September 22). Famous Speech Friday: Janet Yellen on holding women back. Denise Graveline. https://denisegraveline.org/2017/09/famous-speech-friday-janet-yellen-on.html 
Lane, S. (2020, November 30). Biden names Janet Yellen as his Treasury nominee. The Hill. https://thehill.com/policy/finance/526996-biden-picks-janet-yellen-for-treasury-secretary?rl=1 
Mejia, Z. (2018, December 12). Janet Yellen survived the “horrifying” financial crisis thanks to this one simple habit. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/12/how-did-janet-yellen-survive-the-horrifying-financial-crisis-sleep-.html 
The Economic Times. (2013, October 12). Janet Yellen moves out of her Nobel-laureate husband George Akerlof’s shadow. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-editorial/janet-yellen-moves-out-of-her-nobel-laureate-husband-george-akerlofs-shadow/articleshow/23993099.cms?from=mdr 
Wolverson, R. (2021, January 27). Janet Yellen’s past mistakes will haunt her as treasury secretary. Quartz. https://qz.com/1962724/janet-yellens-greatest-mistakes-will-haunt-her-toughest-job-yet/ 

Tuesday Jun 07, 2022

“If you are independent, you will never be afraid to be alone or to leave a job.” 
Brenda Landau
The Art:
Brenda’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her, on a map of Guatemala. Her hometown of Salama, Baja Verapaz, is visible on her neck.
The Story: 
The day after New Year’s, 2021, Brenda Landau went out for a long run.
It’s just her. Feet pounding the pavement. The miles ticking by with buzzes on her running watch. It’s the day after New Year’s Day, 2021. Running a half marathon wasn’t some kind of New Year’s resolution. It was just what Brenda Landau did to relax. This was at least the fourth half marathon she’d run alone during the COVID-19 lockdowns since the previous March. 
While her feet moved in a steady rhythm, she reflected on where she was in her life so far: happily married with two daughters, enjoying professional success as a finance executive and a head full of fun dreams for the future. 
Born into a large family in the mountainous heart of Guatemala, she was the fifth of nine children. Her mother had a second-grade education and did not encourage education among her children. Not liking the future she saw for herself in her small hometown, she changed her story.
“As a middle child, I was always independent and never afraid to try new things,” says Brenda. “From climbing trees as a child and jumping off to taking a job as a teen managing a magazine in my hometown and turning around its struggling sales.”
She moved to the United States, learned English, put herself through college by working 60 hours a week and graduated with top academic honors. The first in her family to earn a college degree, she ultimately earned an MBA as well. 
Professionally, she thrived as well, building a successful career in accounting and finance and enjoys mentoring other women. “I always say, ‘do something that makes you independent—in your thinking, in your finances, in every way. If you’re independent, you’ll never be afraid to be alone or to leave a job,’” she says.  
In 2020, NJBIZ named her to their “Best 50 Women in Business” list. 
When not running a company’s finances or playing with her children, Brenda is passionate about fitness, and ran the New York City Marathon in 2017. 
She lives in central New Jersey with the host of this show and their two children.
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno, and Brenda's brothers playing marimba in Salama.
Brenda Landau, interviews by author, New Jersey, February 20 & December 11, 2021.
NJ BIZ Staff, N. (2020, September 24). Introducing: The 2020 NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business. NJBIZ. https://njbiz.com/introducing-2020-njbiz-best-women-business-awards/ 

Tuesday May 17, 2022

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”
Maggie Kuhn
Elder rights activist & founder of the Gray Panthers
The Artwork:
Maggie Kuhn’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her Ink drawing on a map of Philadelphia, PA, where she lived and worked.
The Story:
In 1970, Maggie Kuhn was working a job she loved at the Presbyterian Church when she was forced to retire due to the mandatory retirement age of 65. Despite 20 years of work for the church, her supervisors refused to let her stay on. 
“I felt dazed. I was hurt and then, as time passed, outraged. Something clicked in my mind and I saw that my problem was not mine alone. Instead of sinking into despair, I did what came most naturally to me: I telephoned some friends and called a meeting,” she later wrote in her autobiography, No Stone Unturned, The Life and Times of Maggie Kuhn.
Each of the meeting attendees was also being forced into retirement. “We discovered we had new freedom as a result of retiring,” wrote Kuhn. “We had no responsibility to a corporation or organization. We could take risks, speak out. We said, ‘With this new freedom we have, let’s see what we can do to change the world.’”
So, Kuhn and her friends created a movement. Initially given the ungainly name of Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change, the group was dubbed the Gray Panthers by a talk show host who quipped they were as militant as the Black Panthers. The moniker stuck and the Gray Panthers quickly carved out an advocacy niche. One hundred people attended its first public meeting. 
The Gray Panthers worked to fight the idea of “disengagement theory,” a popular idea in the 70s that argued old age involved a necessary separation from work, families, communities, and general society as a prelude to death. 
Kuhn believed this was nonsense, saying, “The first myth is that old age is a disease, a terrible disease that you never admit you've got, so you lie about your age. Well, it's not a disease—it's a triumph. Because you've survived. Failure, disappointment, sickness, loss—you're still here.”
As a living refutation of the disengagement theory, Kuhn became a national celebrity, appearing on TV frequently and giving talks all over the US in her role as National Convener of the Panthers. She logged 100,000 miles annually, traveling from one event to another. Her grueling schedule was partly fueled through her motto of “do at least one outrageous thing a day.”
In a full circle moment for Kuhn, the Gray Panthers were ultimately successful in getting Congress to ban mandatory retirement for most jobs in 1986. President Ronald Reagan—then the oldest ever President of the United States, signed the law. 
Still extant today, the Gray Panthers’ membership has declined as it faces stiff competition from AARP.
Background on Kuhn:
Although she founded the Gray Panthers in response to mandatory retirement in 1970, Kuhn began advocating for elder rights in 1961 as an extension of her lifelong interest in human rights. 
Kuhn attributed her activism to her sociology classes in college, saying, “Sociology, for me, related the community to the individual, and showed us a way to act responsibly in groups.”
After attending the 1961 White House Conference on Aging in her professional capacity with the Presbyterian Church, she began visiting Presbyterian retirement homes and was dismayed with how she saw residents treated. As editor of the Presbyterian journal “Social Progress,” she encouraged church members to get involved with elder issues among a wide swath of social problems such as nuclear proliferation, gender equality and more. 
After living a life of advocacy, her advice to activists interested in creating social change was to “Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind—even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants.”
Kuhn was born on August 3, 1095 in Buffalo, New York to a conservative middle class family. She died at her home in Philadelphia on April 22, 1995, at the age of 89. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno, Oleksii Kaplunskyi, Musictown, and Sergei Chetnertnykh.
Douglas, S. J. (2020, September 9). Opinion | The Forgotten History of the Radical ‘Elders of the Tribe.’ The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/opinion/sunday/gray-panthers-maggie-kuhn.html 
Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Maggie Kuhn | American activist. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Maggie-Kuhn 
Folkart, B. A. (2019, March 5). Maggie Kuhn, 89; Iconoclastic Founder of Gray Panthers. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-04-23-mn-58042-story.html 
Gray Panthers. (n.d.). Maggie Kuhn. Gray Panthers NYC. https://www.graypanthersnyc.org/maggie-kuhn 
Kuhn, M. (1991). No Stone Unturned: The Life and Times of Maggie Kuhn (1st ed.). Ballantine Books.
Levy, C. (1995, April 23). Gray Panthers Co-Founder Maggie Kuhn Dies At 89. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1995/04/23/gray-panthers-co-founder-maggie-kuhn-dies-at-89/a7c55189-b388-4e95-aafe-0d7d9a9163a1/ 
Roberts, S. V. (1986, October 18). HOUSE VOTES TO END MANDATORY RETIREMENT RULES. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/18/us/house-votes-to-end-mandatory-retirement-rules.html 
The National Women’s Hall of Fame. (2015, October 17). Kuhn, Maggie. National Women’s Hall of Fame. https://www.womenofthehall.org/inductee/maggie-kuhn/ 
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, December 7). Gray Panthers. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Panthers 
Wikipedia contributors. (2022, February 1). Maggie Kuhn. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Kuhn
Your Dictionary. (n.d.). Maggie Kuhn. YourDictionary.Com. https://biography.yourdictionary.com/maggie-kuhn

Tuesday May 03, 2022

“I classify my research as where equity meets science. The people who are really going to need [smart sutures] will not be able to afford them. So, I decided to make something cost-effective.”
Dasia Taylor
The artwork
Dasia Taylor’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait Project consists of an ink drawing on a map of Iowa. Her hometown of Iowa City is located on the right side, where her neck meets her shoulder.
The story: 
When 17-year-old Dasia Taylor heard about smart sutures—which use electrical currents and smart phone connections to monitor wound infections—she was intrigued, but she also saw a problem: the people who would need these the most would have the lowest access to them. 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 2-4% of sutured wounds become infected in the US. That number rises to 10-20% in some developing countries, where digital access also drops. 
Taylor saw an opportunity to bring equity to this situation and set to work developing a low-tech solution to improving health outcomes. And she wasn’t going to let something like not having participated in a science fair since first grade hold her back. She began researching the problem of wound infection with her chemistry teacher at Iowa City West High School in the fall of 2019.
While healthy human skin has an acidic pH of about 5, infected skin reaches pH 9. After juicing dozens of beets, Taylor discovered beet juice changes color from red to purple at the same pH level as infected skin. 
After experimenting with different threads, Taylor found a cotton/polyester blend worked the best. When treated with the beet dye, the thread would change color in five minutes when in the presence of an infection.
The goal of this color-changing thread is for patients to self-monitor themselves and know when to seek medical attention.  
She began entering her work into science fairs and quickly began racking up prizes, even becoming a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. The annual talent search is one of the most prestigious science contests for high school students. 
Taylor says she’s patenting her invention and looking to set up lab space to continue her research before starting college, where she plans to study political science and become a lawyer. 
“I have to continue my research. These stitches literally will revolutionize wound treatment in developing countries,” she says. “I'm definitely not stopping until my stitches get to those who need them.”
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Anton Vlasov. 
Firozi, P. (2021, April 1). A high-schooler wanted infection-detecting sutures to be more accessible. She used beets. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/04/01/high-schooler-wanted-infection-detecting-sutures-be-more-accessible-she-used-beets/ 
Inside Edition. (2021, April 1). An Iowa High School Student Invented a Cost-Effective Way to Detect Infections in Surgical Patients. https://www.insideedition.com/an-iowa-high-school-student-invented-a-cost-effective-way-to-detect-infections-in-surgical-patients 
Kantor, W. G. (2021, May 14). Iowa Teen Inspired by Grey’s Anatomy Invents Stitches That Change Color When Wound Is Infected. PEOPLE.Com. https://people.com/human-interest/iowa-teen-inspired-by-greys-anatomy-invents-stitches-that-change-color-when-infected/ 
Krupa, A. C. H. A. M. (2021, April 17). A student harnessed the power of beets to make healing from surgery safer -- and more equitable. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/17/us/student-beets-color-changing-sutures-wellness-trnd/index.html 
Local 4 News WHBF. (2021, February 18). In Our Community | Dasia Taylor. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ercvAKNrSVk 
Machemer, T. (2021, March 25). This High Schooler Invented Color-Changing Sutures to Detect Infection. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/high-schooler-invented-color-changing-sutures-detect-infection-180977345/ 
Muzdakis, M. (2021, April 6). High School Senior Creates Color Changing Surgical Sutures That Alert Infection. My Modern Met. https://mymodernmet.com/dasia-taylor-beet-surgical-sutures/ 
Schilke, R. (2021, February 1). West High senior Dasia Taylor recognized as Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist. The Daily Iowan. https://dailyiowan.com/2021/01/31/west-high-senior-dasia-taylor-recognized-as-regeneron-science-talent-search-finalist/ 
Spencer, C. (2021, March 30). Black Teen, Dasia Taylor, is the inventor of a method to detect surgical infections. Black Enterprise. https://www.blackenterprise.com/black-teen-dasia-taylor-is-the-inventor-of-a-method-to-detect-surgical-infections/ 
The Ellen Degeneres Show. (2021, April 26). Astounding Teen Inventor Is Changing the Medical Field. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZILJSMFd3s 

Tuesday Apr 19, 2022

“My office hours are any and all hours of the day and night.”
Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte
First Native American to earn a medical degree
The Artwork:
Picotte’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an Ink drawing of her n an 1886 map of Nebraska; the Omaha Reservation is marked on top right side of her head. The portrait is based on one of the few photographs that exist of Picotte. 
The Story:
The winter of 1891 was bitterly cold on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska, with temps diving to 20 degrees below zero. The cold wasn’t going to stop Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte from making a house call for a young girl taken gravely ill from the influenza outbreak wreaking havoc in the area. 
For the next two weeks, Picotte would visit her patient constantly, spend nights at the girl’s bedside and even cook meals for the family. When the girl eventually died, Picotte was by her side. Such was her dedication to her patients. The sole doctor on the 1,350 square mile reservation, Picotte was responsible for all 1,300 residents. 
As a young girl herself, Picotte watched an elderly Omaha woman die because a white doctor refused to come and help. Four times he was summoned; four times he said he’d be there soon. He never came and the woman died just after sunrise. Picotte said later, “It was only an Indian and it did not matter. The doctor preferred hunting for prairie chickens rather than visiting poor, suffering humanity.” 
The incident haunted Picotte for the rest of her life and spurred her to do what she could to make sure that never happened again. 
It was uncommon for women in the US at that time to go to medical school. Undeterred, Picotte enrolled at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania—one of the few schools that accepted women. After a three-year course of study, Picotte graduated as valedictorian in 1889, becoming the first female Native American to earn a medical degree in the US.
After graduation, she returned home to the Omaha Reservation and took the position of physician at the government boarding school there run by the Office of Indian Affairs. While technically responsible only for the students’ health, as the only doctor around, her people relied heavily on her for medical care, as well counsel around legal, finance, and political issues. She often worked 20-hour days, seeing patients at her clinic and making house calls. As she described it, “my office hours are any and all hours of the day and night.” 
She toiled for years this way, on a $500 government salary and a $250 medical missionary stipend (equal to nearly $22,000 in 2020).
Background on La Fleshe Picotte
Picotte’s father, Joseph La Flesche, also known as Iron Eyes, was the last recognized chief of the Omaha. He sought to help his people by advocating a level of assimilation. He encouraged his children to pursue education. Born on June 17, 1865  during the buffalo hunt in a remote area of the Omaha reservation, Picotte served as a bridge between her traditional society and the encroaching White American culture. 
In 1894, she married Henry Picotte and they had two sons. Going against Victorian-era expectations for married women, she continued practicing medicine.
Always dedicated to the health of the Omahas, she dreamed of building a hospital on the reservation. By 1913, raised the funds to open Walthill Hospital in 1913. As a single, widowed woman, building and staffing a modern hospital without any government assistance was an unheard-of achievement. After her death in 1915, the facility was renamed in her honor. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and the Library of Congress’ Omaha Music Collection. 
Changing the Face of Medicine. (n.d.). Changing the Face of Medicine | Susan La Flesche Picotte. NIH. https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_253.html 
Friedman, M. (n.d.). Inflation Calculator. Westegg. https://westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi?money=750&first=1890&final=2020 
Kettler, S. (2020, October 30). 5 Powerful and Influential Native American Women. Biography. https://www.biography.com/.amp/news/famous-native-american-women-native-american-heritage-month 
Nebraska Studies. (n.d.). Susan La Flesche Picotte First N.A. Female Physician. http://www.nebraskastudies.org/en/1875-1899/susan-la-flesche-picotte-first-na-female-physician/ 
Nusbaum, J. (2019, June 5). AMPLIFY: Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte. HerStry. https://herstryblg.com/amplify/2018/8/23/amplify-dr-susan-la-flesche-picotte 
Quote Catalog. (n.d.). Best Susan La Flesche Picotte Quotes | Quote Catalog. https://quotecatalog.com/communicator/susan-la-flesche-picotte 
Tague, T. (2020, October 5). Against the Current: The Legacy of Susan LaFleshe Picotte. Nations Media. https://nationsmedia.org/susan-lafleshe-picotte/ 
Vaughan, C. (2017, March 1). The Incredible Legacy of Susan La Flesche, the First Native American to Earn a Medical Degree. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/incredible-legacy-susan-la-flesche-first-native-american-earn-medical-degree-180962332/ 
Wikipedia contributors. (2022, March 29). Susan La Flesche Picotte. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_La_Flesche_Picotte 
Wilcox-Lee, N. (2016, November 6). Susan La Flesche Picotte. Sheroes of History. https://sheroesofhistory.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/susan-la-flesche-picotte/ 

Tuesday Apr 12, 2022

“When you have a diverse team, you get different perspectives that help you succeed. It’s about having a team that has lots of ideas and grabbing the best one—that’s what diversity brings you.”
Admiral Michelle Howard
Highest ranking female officer in US Navy history
The artwork:
Howard’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an Ink  drawing on a map of Washington, D.C. The Pentagon, where she served for part of her career, is on her lapel. On her chest is a bright medley of colors, representing the many awards she earned for her distinguished service.
The story:
In April 2009, Rear Admiral Michelle Howard was aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer commanding an anti-piracy task force when the call came in: 
Somali pirates had hijacked the American cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama 300 miles off the coast of Somalia and taken its captain—Richard Philips—hostage. The pirates removed Phillips from the ship and were speeding him to the shore in a life raft. 
“It was obvious that if they got to shore with Captain Phillips, we were probably not going to get him back,” says Howard. So she and her team devised a tactical plan to rescue him. 
It was a unique situation for Howard. Pirates hadn’t seized an American-flagged vessel since 1821 and Howard herself was just three days into her job leading Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151)—a multinational task force countering piracy around Somalia’s “Pirate Alley.” Immediately prior to her assignment to the Gulf of Aden to command CTF-151, she was serving in Washington, D.C. as a senior advisor to the Secretary of the Navy. 
“We were all trying to figure out how best to handle the mission,” she says. “We had an American citizen trapped on a life raft with pirates. In that circumstance you cannot even sleep. How could I possibly sleep when that poor man is out there, not knowing if he is going to live or die?”
Howard needed to get the pirates to stop moving without getting Phillips killed. Long an advocate for the power of diverse groups to generate innovative ideas, she gathered a team onboard her flagship to strategize Phillips’ rescue. “We needed to have folks outside the immediate problem give us different perspectives,” she said. The team she assembled included the ship’s meteorologist, a Somali interpreter who advised on culture, a former FBI agent, some marines, and enlisted sailors. She insisted on the sailors being present, “because they’re the people who make things happen on deck.” 
The result was a creative solution that employed the destroyer USS Bainbridge to make waves, pushing the raft away from the coast and giving Navy SEAL snipers an opportunity to kill the pirates. 
The successful rescue later inspired the 2013 movie “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks.  
In 2014, Howard became the first woman promoted to the rank of four-star admiral in the US Navy. Concurrently, she was named vice-chief of naval operations (VCNO), the second-highest ranking officer in the navy. 
Background on Howard:
Howard was born into a military family on April 30, 1960 at March Air Reserve Base in California. The drive that propelled Howard to the highest echelons of the navy came in part from her mother. When Howard was 12 years old, she knew she wanted to attend a service academy, but they didn’t accept women. Her mother encouraged her not to give up on her dream, saying, “if you still want to go when you’re old enough to apply and if they’re still closed to women, we’ll sue the government.” 
In the end, the Naval Academy opened to women in 1976, two years before Howard completed high school. Howard graduated from USNA in 1982 with her bachelor’s degree. 
Becoming the first woman to earn the rank of “full admiral” was just one of many firsts Howard achieved throughout her career in the navy.
She assumed command of USS Rushmore in 1999, becoming the first black woman to command a ship in the navy. She was the first female graduate of the US Naval Academy to reach flag rank, becoming a rear admiral (lower half) in 2007, and then the first woman to reach rear admiral (2010) and vice admiral (2012). Following her service as VCNO, she went on to command the US Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa, becoming the first female four-star admiral to command operational forces. 
Howard retired in 2017, after nearly 36 years of service in the US Navy. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.
Billups, A. (2014, July 3). Admiral Michelle Howard Becomes Highest-Ranking Female Officer in U.S. Navy History. PEOPLE.com. https://people.com/celebrity/admiral-michelle-howard-becomes-highest-ranking-female-officer-in-u-s-navy-history/ 
Chappell, B. (2014, July 2). Navy Promotes Its First Female 4-Star Admiral. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/07/02/327655651/navy-promotes-its-first-female-four-star-admiral 
Fenn, D. (2015, May 25). 5 tough leadership lessons from the Navy’s top female commander. Fortune. https://fortune.com/2015/05/25/5-tough-leadership-lessons-from-the-navys-top-female-commander/amp/ 
Graves, L. & National Journal. (2015, May 15). For Michelle Howard, Saving Captain Phillips Is Her Least Impressive Accomplishment. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/for-michelle-howard-saving-captain-phillips-is-her-least-impressive-accomplishment/439578/ 
Morning Edition. (2014, October 10). A Phone Call Helped Navy’s First Four-Star Woman Embrace Her Path. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2014/10/10/353565847/a-phone-call-helped-navys-first-four-star-woman-embrace-her-path 
Rafferty, J. P. (2022, March 16). Michelle Howard | Biography & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michelle-Howard 
Sony Pictures Entertainment. (2013, May 14). CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Official International Trailer. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEyM01dAxp8 
The Flagship. (2013, May 13). 20 Years | 20 Questions: Vice Adm. Michelle J. Howard. MilitaryNews.com. https://www.militarynews.com/norfolk-navy-flagship/special_sections/20th_anniversary/20-years-20-questions-vice-adm-michelle-j-howard/article_f26ef056-f948-5ef0-9d86-f3ccbe496e85.html 
Wikipedia contributors. (n.d.-a). Captain Phillips (film). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Phillips_(film) 
Wikipedia contributors. (n.d.-b). Michelle Howard. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Howard 

Tuesday Apr 05, 2022

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom
Member of the Dutch resistance, evangelist, and author
Ten Boom’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her on a map of the Dutch city of Haarlem. There is a red dot near her nose to mark the location of The Hiding Place, that is the home where she and her family hid Jews from the Nazis.
The story: 
At the outset of WWII, Corrie ten Boom was a watchmaker, living with her sister Betsie and her father Casper above their watch store in Haarlem, Netherlands. Known in the city for helping anyone in need, a Jewish stranger knocked on their door seeking shelter. Casper welcomed the woman into their home, saying “In this household, God’s people are always welcome.” 
The ten Booms soon joined the Dutch underground and for the next two years around 800 Jews passed through their home on their way out of Nazi-occupied territory. The Gestapo raided the house in 1944 and Corrie and Betsy were sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Despite horrific and nightmarish conditions, Corrie and Betsy spent their time sharing the gospel with their fellow prisoners until Betsy died in December 1944 and Corrie was released a few days later. 
After the war, a former Ravensbruck guard asked for her forgiveness. She described the moment in her book The Hiding Place, writing: 
“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. And I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. 
“‘Jesus, help me!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’ And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’”
Background on ten Boom:
Ten Boom was born on April 15, 1892.
Before her death in the squalor of Ravensbruck, Betsy told Corrie about three visions she received from God about what they were to do after they got out of there. Her first vision was of a house for former prisoners, the second was to use a former concentration camp in Germany for the broken people in the country. The third was that they would be released before the new year of 1945. All three came true. 
Betsy died on December 16, 1944 and Corrie was released a few days later due to a clerical error (although she had to spend a few weeks in the camp’s hospital before she was allowed to leave). One week after Corrie was released, all the women her age in the camp were gassed. 
Immediately upon release Corrie opened a home in Bloemendaal for victims of the Nazis. Once this was established, she turned her attention to spreading the gospel and teaching the importance of forgiveness. This included a tour through Germany, where she opened a camp for German refugees in a former concentration camp in Darmstadt. The camp operated from 1946 through 1960. 
Corrie traveled the world to speak about her faith, visiting over 60 countries in 30 years. She also wrote dozens of books.
She was honored by the State of Israel as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” in 1967. Casper and Betsy were likewise honored in 2007. 
She died on her birthday in 1983 at the age of 91 in Placentia, California, US
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Oleksii Kaplunskyi. 
Christie, V. (2016, November 22). Giving Thanks in All Circumstances – Corrie ten Boom. VanceChristie.Com. http://vancechristie.com/2016/11/22/giving-thanks-circumstances-corrie-ten-boom/
Holocaust Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Corrie ten Boom. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/corrie-ten-boom
Life:Beautiful Magazine. (2020, February 6). Corrie Ten Boom: The Power of Forgiveness. https://lifebeautifulmagazine.com/profiles/corrie-ten-boom-the-power-of-forgiveness
McDaniel, D. (2015, May 21). 40 Powerful Quotes from Corrie Ten Boom. Crosswalk.Com. https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/inspiring-quotes/40-powerful-quotes-from-corrie-ten-boom.html
PBS. (n.d.). The Question of God . Other Voices . Corrie ten Boom | PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/boom.html
ten Boom, C., Sherrill, J., & Sherrill, E. (1971). The Hiding Place. Bantam.
ten Boom Museum. (2018, April 18). About the Ten Booms. https://tenboom.org/about-the-ten-booms/
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 20). Corrie ten Boom. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrie_ten_Boom
Yad Vashem. (n.d.). The Righteous Among the Nations Database: Boom ten Cornelia. https://righteous.yadvashem.org/?searchType=righteous_only&language=en&itemId=4014036&ind=NaN 

Tuesday Mar 29, 2022

“If you’re so proud of America’s history, look at the downsides too. Own it just like you own how we won the Revolutionary War.”
Iris Haq-Lukolyo
Fifth grade student
The artwork:
Iris Haq-Lukolyo’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her holding a copy of the magazine with her article in it, while wearing a T-shirt that with Kamala Harris’ “I’m Speaking” quote on it. I’ve drawn her on a contemporary map of her hometown of Pearland, TX. While Haq-Lukolyo herself fits within the edges of the town on the map, the magazine she is holding straddles the boundaries of the map and extends far into the margins of the paper, just as her voice did through the article.  
The Story:
A warm day in September 2020, ten-year-old Iris Haq-Lukolyo logged into her virtual classroom from the small desk in a bedroom of her Pearland, TX home. Her teacher said they would be learning about the Founding Fathers that day and how they built America. 
Something seemed missing from the lesson though, so the only Black student in the class spoke up: 
"I went off of mute, and I said, 'But didn't slaves build America?' And my teacher was like, 'oh, no, we don't talk about that in this classroom.'"
The teacher didn’t address the topic of slavery that day, or include it in any of lessons for the rest of the year, despite the fact that many of the Founding Fathers collectively enslaved thousands of Black people. Slavery also wasn’t something limited only to the cotton plantations in the South—at the time of the American Revolution, New York City was second only behind Charleston, SC in slave population. Even the White House and Capitol were built with slave labor. 
Devastated by the teacher’s harsh reaction, Haq-Lukolyo turned off her camera and cried. Her tears soon turned to action though. “As soon as I got on lunch break, I just took the whole break and started writing,” she says.  An avid writer, Haq-Lukolyo quickly filled two notebook pages with her thoughts on the incident:
"In Social Studies class, we were learning about who built ‘the greatest country in the world, America.’ The teacher started listing names like George Washington and other overrated white historic figures. And I was like, ummm, did you forget something about who actually built America? If you are so proud of America’s history, look at the downsides too. Own it just like you own how we won the Revolutionary War."
After detailing the incident and how black history is treated in schools, Haq-Lukolyo closed the essay with a plea: 
"I’m a fifth grader in Texas and I’m asking teachers two things: First, don’t shut down or mute conversations about slavery. It took courage for me to come off mute and make that contribution only to be shut down by the teacher. That hurts. Second, please teach American history in a way that shows the complex and, yes, racist history of our country. Students deserve to learn the ugly sides of our history so we won’t repeat the same mistakes, and also learn about amazing black historical figures beyond Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Harriet Tubman. These changes will make me feel seen and comfortable as a Black child in a classroom in America."
Her mother showed the essay to some friends and one recommended submitting to Skipping Stones, a national youth literary magazine. Skipping Stones published the article in December 2020 to widespread acclaim. 
“One person—which was my teacher—wasn’t hearing or listening to me, but thousands of other people were,” says Haq-Lukolyo. 
Her mother, Dr. Heather Haq, elaborated saying, “We heard from people all over the country, saying what a strong and powerful voice she had, how much clarity she had in her writing and how brave she was to not only stand up in the first place in her class, but then to also use her voice again to write this article. And we had people share that, ‘Oh, something like this happened to me when I was a student. But I never spoke up about it and I'm so glad you did.’”
After the incident, Haq-Lukolyo and her mother requested a meeting with the teacher to share how the classroom incident had affected her. The teacher made an attempt at an apology that fell flat. “She invited me to a Zoom meeting to apologize,” says Haq-Lukolyo. “ And her apology was that her dad was raised by black women, and that she likes black people, but there was no sincere apology. And I felt personally offended for a second time by her because if that was an apology to her, it's just kind of sad, because it had nothing to do with me and [she was saying that] just because I was black.” 
Originally born in Wisconsin, Haq-Lukolyo has lived all around the world, including Texas, Uganda, and then back to Texas to her present home in Pearland, a Houston suburb. For now, Haq-Lukolyo is focusing on developing her writing abilities and spending time on other interests like drawing and music. She is also part of a competitive dance team.
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno. 
Ambrose, S. E. (2002, November). Founding Fathers and Slaveholders. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/founding-fathers-and-slaveholders-72262393/ 
Anthony, C. (2017, November 26). How slave labor built and financed major U.S. cities. Salon. https://www.salon.com/2017/11/26/how-slave-labor-built-and-financed-major-u-s-cities/ Constitutional Rights Foundation. (2017). How Should We Judge Our Nation’s Founders? CRF-USA. https://crf-usa.org/images/t2t/pdf/HowShouldWeJudgeOurNation.pdf 
Haq, H. [@heather_haq]. (2021, January 4). Speaking up takes courage. Imagine being 10 yrs old & bravely making a contribution to your 5th grade history class [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/heather_haq/status/1346207913040371714 
Haq-Lukolyo, I. (2020, December). Muted: Fifth Grade Conversations About Slavery. Skipping Stones. https://www.skippingstones.org/wp/2020/12/21/muted-fifth-grade-conversations-about-slavery
Iris Haq-Lukolyo and Dr. Heather Haq, interview by author via Zoom, December 9, 2021. 
Lane, A. (2009, January 19). The legend of slaves building Capitol is correct. Politifact. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2009/jan/19/nancy-pelosi/legend-slaves-building-capitol-correct/ 
McShane, J. (2021, February 23). She’s the only Black kid in her fifth-grade class. She spoke up when slavery wasn’t included in a lesson plan. The Lily. https://www.thelily.com/gdpr-consent/?destination=%2fshes-the-only-black-kid-in-her-fifth-grade-class-she-spoke-up-when-slavery-wasnt-included-in-a-lesson-plan%2f%3f
White House Historical Association. (n.d.). Did enslaved people build the White House? WHHA. https://www.whitehousehistory.org/questions/did-slaves-build-the-white-house

Tuesday Mar 22, 2022

“I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me.” 
Julia Margaret Cameron
The artwork:
Ink  drawing on a map of the Island of Wight, UK, based on a self portrait by Julia Cameron. Her home in Freshwater is located on the left side, above her head.
The story:
Julia Cameron began career as a photographer relatively late at the age of 48, when she was given her first camera. A present from her daughter, the camera was meant to be a source of entertainment for Cameron at her UK home on the Isle of Wight while her husband tended to his coffee plantations in Sri Lanka. “It may amuse you, Mother, to try to photograph during your solitude,” said her daughter. 
Cameron took to photography with gusto, learning her craft and focusing on making portraits in her studio converted from a chicken coop. 
“Many and many a week in the year 1864, I worked fruitlessly, but not hopelessly… I began with no knowledge of the art. I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass,” she said of her photographic beginnings. 
However, she did not stay “fruitless” for long and she quickly came to see her camera as, “A living thing, with voice, memory, and a creative vigor.” 
Within a year, she was a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland. She developed a unique style, characterized by close-cropped intimate portraits that were often deliberately slightly out of focus or blurred by her subjects moving during long exposures. 
Highly unconventional for her day, her style was heavily criticized by the photography establishment during her lifetime for her supposedly poor technique. She is now recognized as one of Britain’s greatest portrait photographers of the 19th century and credited with creating the first close-up portraits in the history of the medium. Cameron dismissed the carping by her peers of her soft focus work, saying,  “What is focus and who has the right to say what focus is the legitimate focus?”
Cameron’s photography career was short but productive. She made around 900 photographs over a 12-year period, registering each of them with the copyright office. Her subjects included luminaries from the London cultural scene, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Charles Darwin. 
While her photos of eminent Victorian men featured strong contrasts in light and shadow (chiaroscuro) resulting in powerful images, her portraits of women are noted for their particularly sensitive and often delicate renderings of female beauty.  
Describing her photography career, Cameron said, “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied. Its difficulty enhanced the value of the pursuit.”
Background on Cameron:
The daughter of an East India Company official, Cameron was born in India on June 11, 1815. She was educated with relatives in France and then she returned to India after completing her schooling. She met her husband, Charles Hay Cameron, while both of them were convalescing, likely from malaria. They married in Kolkata, two years after meeting. 
Her photography was actively supported by her husband and she eagerly showed him every photograph she made: 
“My husband from first to last has watched every picture with delight, and it is my daily habit to run to him with every glass upon which a fresh glory is newly stamped, and to listen to his enthusiastic applause. This habit of running into the dining-room with my wet pictures has stained such an immense quantity of table linen with nitrate of silver, indelible stains, that I should have been banished from any less indulgent household,” she said.
By all accounts, the Camerons were a happy couple, devoted to each other. They raised 11 children together, six of their own and five orphans they adopted. They moved to London in the 1840s and were an active part of the social and cultural scene. After visiting Tennyson’s home on the Isle of Wight, Cameron was taken with the location and they bought their own home on the island, calling it Dimbola Lodge. 
She died on January 26, 1879 in Kalutara, Sri Lanka, where her husband held coffee plantations. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Michael Kobrin.
Cameron, J. M. (2016, February 15). 11 Quotes By Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. John Paul Caponigro. https://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/16476/11-quotes-by-photographer-julia-margaret-cameron/ 
Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Julia Margaret Cameron | British photographer. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Julia-Margaret-Cameron 
Photogpedia. (2021, March 21). 25 Timeless Julia Margaret Cameron Quotes to Bookmark. https://photogpedia.com/julia-margaret-cameron-quotes/
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 7). Julia Margaret Cameron. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Margaret_Cameron



Know of an amazing woman who should be profiled in this podcast and art project? Please share their story! I’m always looking for more people to include. Any other questions, comments, or concerns? 

Email: artwork (at) danlandau.net

Instagram: @danlandauart

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Your host Dan Landau

I am a self-taught artist specializing in figurative works drawn on maps. My work has been published in a variety of outlets, including The New York Times, Huff Post, and The Nation, and is held in private collections around the world. I live in New Jersey with my favorite muses: my wife and two daughters.

Why maps?

I’ve always liked maps. As a kid, I pored over the map inserts that came with my National Geographic magazines. Now, I use maps as my canvas for creating art.

My work typically consists of subjects drawn in ink on paper maps. Sometimes I cut away portions of the map, leaving the drawing and the roads behind. I like to work with maps because maps have quite a bit of meaning baked into them. They represent places with special associations for us. They help us get to know new places. I use maps as a metaphor for connection and exploration in my work.

Map selection is a crucial part of my process. Sometimes my subjects are deeply and obviously entwined with the maps I draw them on—for example, women profiled in the Fearless Portraits series are drawn on maps of locations connected to their stories. Sometimes the connection is more abstract—evoking ideas of a journey and philosophical travel. Or, perhaps I just liked how the curve of a road matched the subject’s nose.

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