I stumbled across the artist Bryn Barnard accidentally. He found this blog and left a comment a few days ago. I checked out his website and saw some of his amazing works. Then I remembered that I had seen his art on the cover of the June issue of HealthCare Design Magazine. I asked him about his work:
I’m a children’s book writer and illustrator. I’ve written about the evolution of public health in the book Outbreak: Plagues that Changed History and illustrated body functions in Dr. Nick Krasner’s book Oozing Medical Poems for Kids .
My entry into the world of heath care art, however, was accidental. The art facilitator at Seattle Children’s Hospital was looking for someone to paint a series of murals for the lobby of the Janet Sinegal Patient Care Building and visited a show of my work at the Art of Illustration gallery. A few months later, after learning about the stress-reducing principles of evidence-based design, I was painting three 12 by 20 foot canvases of the African savanna. I used repeating horizontals and three different analogous palettes to create an atmosphere of calm and serenity. My wife Rebecca painted accompanying sculptures of iridescent African animals. These proved so popular – children like to hang out in the mural area and climb on the sculptures – that they have been used in several of the Hospital’s television commercials.
Last year I completed a second, even bigger mural for Children’s (20×120 feet) this one with an undersea theme – in the atrium of the Melinda French Gates Patient Care building. A Giant Pacific Octopus (nicknamed “Candy” by the patients) dominates this mural. It features long swooping curvilinear shapes, a cool palette, dappled light and shadow, and again, a multitude of repeating horizontals. A special challenge was the juxtaposition of a single design on two media: oil on canvas and four sand-carved glass panels that I designed and another artist, Irene D’Aloisio, executed. Both had to be robust (18,000 people a day walk by the murals) and accessible. The scale gives patients a hermit crab view of Puget Sound, with lots of kid-height detail – starfish, urchins, anemones – a perfect distraction as a child is being wheeled to radiology.