These documentary styled paintings are all done with the assistance of those portrayed coordinating their own photo shoots and celebrating their vocations or hobbies. Together we work on how the portrait should be handled. Each participant writes his or her own biography and ends it with a positive note for all of us to ponder and live by!  Please view the entire collection at: http://www.facebook.com/ManyFacesNF

April Embracing Star Trek
Narragansett, Rhode Island ~ 2020
Oil on Canvas
30" x 24"

April was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She was sick at birth which prompted doctors to label her a 'failure to thrive' and wanted to take her away from her family to be institutionalized. Her mother refused. By the age of two she was diagnosed with NF1. It was a spontaneous gene mutation and by age three, she was diagnosed with a ganglioneuroblastoma. A genetic disorder and cancer diagnosis at the same time. It did prove difficult for her mother. Her mother fought for her. April was a very quiet child who endured many surgeries. April's friends were imaginary and she would pull them out of the sky for comfort. Her school years also proved difficult as she was constantly made in fun of due to her appearance with NF and skin color.

With the help of her mother by the end of high school she was in college prep level courses and went to a technical school afterwards. As an adult she still battled with surgeries most notably the tumor on her face which cracked her hard palate. The doctors found that the tumor has reached all the way into the brain. Surgery had to be done in which they replaced the palate with a plastic device. Afterwards, April had to learn to speak properly again while still going to work. However with all the maintenance of physical illnesses, mental illness was ignored and hardly mentioned. She was diagnosed as schizoaffective along with other mental and physical disorders and was placed on disability.

In the 80's and 90's April embraced Star Trek which changed her world. Life went from seemingly grim to hopeful. And, most importantly, in Star Trek appearance meant nothing just the character's actions mattered. Currently, April spends her days giving to charities when she can, playing video games, starting trouble on Facebook and of course enjoying Star Trek.
Oil Portraits NF1 (United States)