Claire-Audrey Bayan meshes worlds of medicine and visual art
This is the second installation of a series in which Spectrum highlights some of the student artists here at Columbia. This week, we spoke to Claire-Audrey Bayan, a post-bac student at Columbia who graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2010.
Josephine McGowan: Tell me a bit about your initial interest in art.
Claire-Audrey Bayan: It wasn’t really a choice. When I was seven, my art mentor told my parents that I should work with him in his studio because he thought I had a gift.
JM: How did you become interested in medicine, and how did you start meshing science and art?
CAB: My roots were grounded in both art and science even in high school. During my second year at the University of Cambridge I started the work that would become my dissertation. I researched the incorporation of a drawing episode during the forensic interviews of sexually-abused children. In retrospect, this was an obvious clue that I wanted to help society’s most vulnerable. In my final year I was finally exposed to medicine through a shadowing opportunity in the ER and everything fell into place! I also spent some time at Parsons before Columbia. At Columbia I took lab classes. I thought that the colors in the test tubes were stunning and the patterns were beautiful, and was honestly surprised that my classmates did not see this—so I started capturing them on camera.
JM: How are you involved with science on campus?
CAB: On campus, I am the VP of the Pre-Medical Association, so I just came from Columbia’s 2013 Medical School Fair, which I helped plan. It was awesome! I am also a 3D modeler of surgical videos for COACH surgery. I currently don’t have any labs going on, so I’m focusing on the human body. I attend weekly open studio sessions that allow me to draw live models.
JM: How do you hope to apply your artistic abilities in the future?
CAB: Art and medicine both have heavy manual aspects—surgery is the obvious candidate, but at this point everything interests me! Having pursued fashion design strangely makes a lot of sense here. At Parsons I spent my time perfecting my manual dexterity in a highly competitive and pressurized environment. Most of the time, I was sewing from 9 a.m.-2 a.m. the next day! In a way, I can compare surgery to constructing a garment. Planning it is similar to planning a surgery because you are working within a certain framework; if you don’t follow certain steps or methods, the whole thing falls apart, or the patient bleeds out… Once you get so good at a procedure, you have that creativity to troubleshoot and think outside of the box in an emergency situation, and that’s where you can be more creative. I see my hands as my gift, and if I can use them to help others, at the end of the day, that’s what I’d love to do.
JM: What is your most cherished piece of art?
CAB: A scene of battling horses—it’s a really early piece. My art teacher always said, “Paint like a child, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.” I think you can really see that in this work.
All images courtesy of Claire-Audrey Bayan.
Leave a Comment
Be nice. Don't use HTML tags. And consider reading our full comment policy.