While always believing art is both intuitive and healing, I’ve never met another who embodies this concept quite like Christine Neill. Allowing her diverse occupations to flow into each other, she leaves a wake of beauty, wonder, and intrigue. It’s an absolute honor having a few of her pieces with us.
When asked about her heart art, Christine explains, “Art is the global communicator. Our hearts connect every single person together. This common denominator, our equalizer, is something I like to be reminded of and viewed.”
To Christine, serving our community is one of her greatest accomplishments, “It fuels me and guides me. The art of being human is dynamic, messy, and not a level playing field for all. I hope that my time can make a difference for others.”
Christine’s artwork hangs in the office of the Free Clinic where she serves as a longtime volunteer, and as a high school medical science teacher she enjoys merging art into science. She is working on a heart art compassion curriculum to supplement cardiac units in the classrooms.
Christine has developed her unique style by drawing from her experiences in procuring hearts from donors as a recovery technical surgeon. She’s developed what she calls “transplant art” or “suture art.” These avant-garde anatomical portrayals of the heart harness movement with the process of organ recovery and transplanting. She paints on two different canvases using acrylics, brushes, palette knives, and her hands. Then she removes the heart from one canvas and sutures it into the recipient canvas using typical instruments for procurement and implanting – scalpel, forceps, and a suture needle.
Intercostal auscultation is another method Christine uses for her work as an interactive process -listening to someone’s heart with a stethoscope to create. This sensory information inspires an abstract portrayal of the chambers and valves inside the heart. She listens and imagines the journey expressing this in her brush and palette strokes for each heart. Pets are her favorite patients!
Christine expresses, “This artwork is cathartic to create, especially in the new light of my own circumstances.” Recently, Christine made a discovery of her own heart. It began during a health scare last December when she had a CT scan, and incidentally, a congenital heart defect. “My aorta descends to the wrong side of my heart, a Right Sided Aortic Arch (RSAA) and Kommerell’s diverticulum. It occurs in .01% of the population. I am a lucky one, as I have been given the gift of life this far, so many others do not. It has been silent until this finding and I pray it continues without flaw for a long life.”