I've been a professional artist for the past 18 years. I work in a hyper realistic style with oil paints being my preferred medium. I am also a qualified Derma Pigmentologist. In my practice I focus exclusively on Areola Restoration. My aim is to assist surgeons in the reconstruction process to help restore the area as close as is possible to its former state prior to surgery.

My own journey with breast cancer led me to my career in dermapigmentation. During my reconstruction process I started researching different options for nipple-areola reconstruction and came across the practice of areola repigmentation by means of tattooing.

I was quite surprised as I had never before heard of something like this. My interest was piqued and on further research I became fascinated by this technique.

Unfortunately I had to learn from my surgeon that there wasn't a lot of options available to me in my area of residence. No one specialised in this unique line of work. I was advised to contact permanent make up technicians in my area. This left me with some frustration. As an artist myself it was important to me to see a comprehensive body of work before I would be able to choose an artist to perform this rather delicate and specialised procedure on me. No one could provide me with a portfolio. I was offered images of permanent makeup procedures and maybe one or two photos of areola work. I soon learned that they did not focus extensively on areola restoration and some were even hesitant to perform this procedure.

That so few professionals were available to do this procedure was rather baffling to me. As I continued with my research my fascination with the subject grew. Like a new art form that begged to be discovered, my instruction began. I was curious about the medium, tools and different colors. I started reading extensively about paramedical tattooing and areola repigmentation. It wasn't long before I came across the portfolios of some of the leaders in this industry. These American artists were all highly skilled artists and passionate about this procedure. Their work became my inspiration and I knew without a doubt that this was what I wanted to do. I had the fine art background, all I needed now was training in Paramedical Tattooing.

I spoke to my surgeon about my vision. He supported my idea and encouraged me to forge ahead. The demand for this procedure was huge in our area and this would provide an option for his patients as well.

After obtaining my qualifications I took some time off to focus all my energy on exploring this new art form. I began by searching for similarities between oil paints, my oil painting technique and this new medium and the tools that came with it. It held a lot of new challenges but by improvising I found that I could manipulate the medium to mimic closely what my oil paint medium could do. This allowed me to achieve the realistic and natural looking results I sought.

This procedure marks the end of the reconstruction process and for most women it brings an end to a long and difficult journey. I often witness a sense of closure in my clients once this process is over. By combining my skills as an artist and my own personal understanding of the loss breast cancer can cause in a woman I hope to bring restoration to at least a small part of what cancer has taken from her.


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