Artistry with a purpose: Isabel Dory blends creativity & science in biomedical art

"The job she plans on looking for after graduation would be something along the lines of creating a tear sheet for someone at the doctor’s office who’s there for surgery, but they want to know more about it, that’s where Dory would come in." - Photos via Dory's Instagram.

Biomedical art and visualizations major, Isabel Dory has always been creative and imaginative. She gets it from her parents who were creative in their ways. Her mom was a musician, and her dad was an artist also but used wood as his art tool.

“Our family is already artistic in some sense,” Dory said with a laugh. Her father was the first one who led her to pick up the paintbrush and get into what she now loves and can’t see her life without. This sparked a whole new meaning of life for Dory. It became her hobby that would eventually turn into her major. The young artist found out about biomedical art and visualization from her grandfather. 

He knew someone who had her major when they were in college. His reasoning for bringing it to her attention was because of art, but also because she was very smart and loved science anyway. The main purpose of the major is to communicate hard and confusing medical information from doctors to patients through illustration so that patients have an easier understanding of what they need to know.

“It was a perfect match for me because I could still create beautiful things, but now there’s a greater purpose to them so that they can educate people on medicine,” Dory sincerely said.

“Growing up seeing what he (Dory’s father) made when he was younger inspired me… He does a lot of wood carvings, and he also does a little bit of painting. I just always thought it was so interesting because I’ve never seen any kind of wood carvings anywhere,” Dory laughed and trailed off. 

While Mr. Dory wasn’t using his artistic ability as a source of primary income, Isabel Dory plans to after she graduates college. The junior has been learning about patient education illustration, which interested her so much that it has become the goal she wants to achieve for herself after she accepts her diploma.

The job she plans on looking for after graduation would be something along the lines of creating a tear sheet for someone at the doctor’s office who’s there for surgery, but they want to know more about it, that’s where Dory would come in.

“I would design a tear sheet that would explain what the procedure is…so that the patient can be more educated on what’s going on with their health,” Dory explained. The young artist has big hopes for herself and she gives thanks to her parents, but more importantly, her father. He was the one who got her introduced to the world of art, and when she ever needed any advice it was usually one or both of them who came to her rescue.

“Probably my dad, just because he has more of that specific type of art background,” Dory said. “Though it’s either of my parents. Even though he has a strict art background, they both just have all different types of experiences in life…” Like every artist though, Dory struggled through times when things didn’t come easy to her and she seriously needed some help, or some type of inspiration.

“I struggle a lot with feeling like I’m not creative enough… It’s really hard to come up with ideas left and right for different kinds of projects,” Dory stated. “Especially when you’re in a school environment and you have four classes where you need to be busting out like three projects a semester.”

When that inspiration didn’t come naturally, the young artist turned to three people who seem always to have her best interest at heart. “Usually when I’m stuck in a creative rut, I will just go talk to someone about what I think I wanna do, and just bounce ideas back and forth, because if I’m just sitting by myself and just thinking I get nowhere.”

The people she usually talks to are her mom, dad, and when all else fails, her roommate. In some of the worst times creatively, one, two, or all three of them were there to get her back on her feet when things got tough and cheered her on when everything was going how it was planned. As artists get into slumps, they also get into creative nirvana as well. Dory found her creative nirvana when she would find inspiration in songs she would listen to. Because her music background was so diverse, she was able to tap into so many different genres of music that made her artwork different from the others.

“Once I discovered the wonders of Spotify, I would just listen to whatever random stuff was out there. I would read about their upbringing and creative process that would egg me on to go in a new direction with my art,” Dory said.

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