Cancer Survivor Displays Artwork at CancerCare of Maine

11/03/2008

Over the years, physicians and nurses have discovered that art, music, dance, and poetry all have profound healing effects on patients. Because art brings to the human spirit a sense of freedom and joy, CancerCare of Maine regularly hosts art gallery showings. During the months of October and November 2008, CancerCare of Maine is proud to display oil paintings by Mark Nutt, a local artist and former CancerCare patient.

Mark spent 12 years in the banking industry and left when he became ill. He took that as a sign that he needed to be doing something else. Mark explains, “I quit my job without a plan. Two weeks later I was in the field painting. I have no regrets. People say that it was a courageous thing to do; it was about saving my life.”
Mark was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and at the same time his mom was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. “It really was an incredible journey – going through all this at the same time,” Mark says. Unfortunately, Mark’s mom did not survive.

In January 1998 Mark had his last chemotherapy session. Last year he ceased monitoring at CancerCare as he is now cancer free for 10 years. “They say its remission; I say it’s gone.”
“While I was sick I had lots of time to think and reflect on how amazing life really is. My experience with cancer has been enlightening, educational, and deeply spiritual. I know that a lot of people really struggle with cancer – I wouldn’t say that I struggled much. The only thing I struggled with was not having any energy,” Mark says.
Mark feels that his experiences inform what he paints. “Compared to a lot of other people, my cancer was a walk in the park. I learned how to be a patient advocate. I keep cancer as a piece of my life, not all of my life.” Art has been a part of Mark’s life since he was a child. His most recent artistic passion is oil painting which he began in May 2005. Since then he has painted more than 160 paintings.

The exhibit at CancerCare of Maine is a monumental show for Mark. His paintings have been exhibited at several galleries across the United States, Canada, and England, but the exhibit at CancerCare has special meaning for him. It’s not about selling paintings; it’s about giving people an opportunity to see and experience his work. He hopes that his paintings bring hope to current CancerCare patients, just as painting brought hope to his life when he struggled with the disease. Mark also enjoys hearing what others have to say about his work. “It doesn’t matter if people don’t like the work,” he explains. “Just the fact that they feel strong enough to give me feedback is what’s important. It gives me some collaborative input.”

Mark plans to donate a painting to the new CancerCare building which he will create specifically for the space. The new CancerCare facility is scheduled to open in Brewer in late 2009. Mark’s current exhibit is on display at CancerCare of Maine until November 30, 2008.