Monica Duran is a New Mexico-based art therapy artist who has suffered health care problems and created beautiful works of art as a therapeutic way to deal with the pain of suffering. Monica already had a creative career established in architecture and interior design when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. She could no longer work full time but began creating artful pictures which combined her feelings with her views of things in the world. Her most well-known piece of art entitled “Raining Tears” incorporates the universally recognized curved pink ribbon representing breast cancer with a face shedding tears.
I interviewed Monica after watching a television show that featured her story about her journey from cancer patient to artist. “Raining Tears” expresses Monica’s reaction to her first diagnosis of cancer. She spoke about how therapeutic it felt to be creating pictures rich with emotion. I asked Monica if she thought that creative talent was something that one needed to be born with to be a successful artist versus just needing to try to be artistic. She responded that she thinks most good artists, including her, have some inbred creativity talent. As an architect and interior designer she was already expressing her artfulness.
When the health challenges arose, she became inspired by her feelings to moving into a different type of art creation – painting pictures. She is also involved in fashion art and is a model. If that was not enough, she also has her sights set on acting and wants to go to Hollywood. Her company Monista Arts features many of her activities. She has participated in benefits that contribute 100% of earnings to cancer research.
Monica shared with me that after being treated for breast cancer, she unfortunately was diagnosed with another serious type of cancer and struggles with multiple autoimmune diseases. To hear this soft spoken but energetic person one would not think someone with her history would continue to be able to be highly productive in creating multiple art pieces. But this is just what Monica is doing. Model, actress, painter, designer, she is adding much to multiple art venues. She exemplifies how art can help heal, and why art is so important to both the creators and recipients of art works. Though sick, she is also healthy in spirit and emotion and she brings beauty to the world through her works. I am glad to have met this gentle, peaceful and content artist.