When I was diagnosed with cancer I shaved a mohawk and I took a few photos of myself. The photos were a small way to prove that I existed in the face of death and to celebrate being alive. Alone in my house I set up the camera and lights and took the photos on a timer.

I used one photo as my Facebook profile. Three months later at work sitting at my desk, an island where two co-workers sit, one of them leaned past the divider of our shared workspace and said: “Hey, someone painted a portrait of you.”

My brain desperately tried to connect dots but failed. I was confused.

Someone I have never met, have no mutual friends with on Facebook, and even lives in Sweden painted my portrait.

My friend found it on his Facebook newsfeed and shared it with me. I reached out to the artist and asked how she painted my face. She was very polite and said it was a photo given to her by her art teacher.

I learned the teacher had one friend in common with me and used my photo for her class on painting portraits with colored lights. Some people could get angry at that from a privacy standpoint or something, but I think it’s pretty incredible.

My act of creating enabled someone else to create as well.

A year later I messaged the artist again to see if she still had the portrait. She had it and said if I covered the shipping (from Sweden) I could have the painting free of charge.

The painting now sits in my mom’s house as a gift to her.

Visit the artist’s site to see her other work, she’s incredibly talented and a very nice person (we are now friends on Facebook).

Consider creating something and sharing it with others, you never know where it could lead.

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