Thanks to his art, Hiller has ‘Put the Can in Cancer’

Local Life November 4, 2011 0 Comments

by Barbara Sherf

Chestnut Hill artist Christian “Patch” Patchell knows a thing or two about art and cancer, so he put together a colorful cartoon book titled “I Put the Can in Cancer: A Journey Through Pictures.” He will be signing copies of the book at the Nichols Berg Gallery on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Patch reviews a mock up of his book at his work desk. (Photos by Barbara Sherf)

In May of 2007, Patchell discovered a lesion on his tongue that was so bothersome he saw a physician, who ordered an immediate biopsy and learned in very short order that, at the age of 33, he had Stage IV tongue cancer.

He had the lesion surgically removed, along with part of his tongue and 14 lymph nodes on the left side of his neck. Then came the feeding tube, a tracheotomy and a month of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

He credits a bevy of caregivers and his art for getting him through the ordeal.  Turning to his art as therapy, he took along sketchbooks and drew during each treatment. A former teacher urged him to publish the compilation. He applied for two grants, received funding and self-published the book containing 26 sketches he drew while undergoing treatment.

“Actually, there was one day I was so sick I couldn’t sketch, and so I put a blank page in the book,” said the energetic Patchell, who knew as a child that he wanted to be an artist. “I could draw before I could talk.”

A graduate of the High School for Creative and Performing Arts and University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he works as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist and teaches classes at the Antonelli Institute in Wyndmoor and at the the University of the Arts.

A copy of the book will be given to each teen and ‘tween who is treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for cancer. He is also in the process of getting sketchbooks donated so that the patients can sketch their own experiences.

“I was in shock when I got the diagnosis. I never smoked or chewed tobacco,” said Patchell. “I made a mental list of things that were important to me, and I knew I had to continue to draw. Now I focus on living life and enjoying myself more.”

Patchell, and his girlfriend, Melissa Lomax, who met at the Burgoyne Greeting Card Company 11 years ago, moved to Chestnut Hill from Center City three years ago because they wanted a place “where the city and ‘burbs meet,” he said,

The couple live on the third floor of a gray stone mansion at the corner of Chestnut Hill and Germantown Avenues that he believes is possibly the highest point in the area.

“We have great light and great views, and we are surrounded by great art in this area. There is the Woodmere nearby and uber-creative art on the walls at Campbell’s Place, Chestnut Hill Coffee, Nichols Berg and all of the galleries … It keeps us in shape,” he said.

Lomax continues to work on greeting cards at Kathy Davis Studios but works on her artwork in a host of mediums at night. On her work desk were Cork Peeps, little characters made out of champagne corks.

He and Lomax have exhibited several works at Nichols Berg Gallery, including Patchell’s cartoon of the Wissahickon Valley. “We just love walking down there and taking pictures or bringing a sketchbook and relaxing. It’s a very special place,” he added.

Patchell recently conducted a free comic book workshop for kids at the Nichols Berg Gallery and received rave reviews. “If I touched one young person and gave them the skills and encouragement to become an artist or cartoonist, then it was worth it.”

On his colorful web site, Patchell describes himself this way. “I am a cartoonist, illustrator, designer and all-around art monkey. I have lived in Philly my entire life and truly love this city. I divide my time between making art, teaching and collaborating with the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society. My art has appeared on everything from comic books to greeting cards.”

His theory on art: “Monsters & Robots make everything better.”

Perhaps this quote sums up his life now. “I live in a tree house on the top of the highest hill with my lovely girlfriend, and we make pictures.”

For samples of Patch’s work, visit www.artbypatch.com or e-mail patchworx13@gmail.com

 

 

 

Thanks to his art, Hiller has ‘Put the Can in Cancer’

by Barbara Sherf
Chestnut Hill artist Christian “Patch” Patchell knows a thing or two about art and cancer, so he put together a colorful cartoon book titled “I Put the Can in Cancer: A Journey Through Pictures.” He will be signing copies of the book at the Nichols Berg Gallery on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m.

In May of 2007, Patchell discovered a lesion on his tongue that was so bothersome he saw a physician, who ordered an immediate biopsy and learned in very short order that, at the age of 33, he had Stage IV tongue cancer.

He had the lesion surgically removed, along with part of his tongue and 14 lymph nodes on the left side of his neck. Then came the feeding tube, a tracheotomy and a month of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

He credits a bevy of caregivers and his art for getting him through the ordeal.  Turning to his art as therapy, he took along sketchbooks and drew during each treatment. A former teacher urged him to publish the compilation. He applied for two grants, received funding and self-published the book containing 26 sketches he drew while undergoing treatment.

“Actually, there was one day I was so sick I couldn’t sketch, and so I put a blank page in the book,” said the energetic Patchell, who knew as a child that he wanted to be an artist. “I could draw before I could talk.”

A graduate of the High School for Creative and Performing Arts and University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he works as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist and teaches classes at the Antonelli Institute in Wyndmoor and at the the University of the Arts.

A copy of the book will be given to each teen and ‘tween who is treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for cancer. He is also in the process of getting sketchbooks donated so that the patients can sketch their own experiences.

“I was in shock when I got the diagnosis. I never smoked or chewed tobacco,” said Patchell. “I made a mental list of things that were important to me, and I knew I had to continue to draw. Now I focus on living life and enjoying myself more.”

Patchell, and his girlfriend, Melissa Lomax, who met at the Burgoyne Greeting Card Company 11 years ago, moved to Chestnut Hill from Center City three years ago because they wanted a place “where the city and ‘burbs meet,” he said,

The couple live on the third floor of a gray stone mansion at the corner of Chestnut Hill and Germantown Avenues that he believes is possibly the highest point in the area.

“We have great light and great views, and we are surrounded by great art in this area. There is the Woodmere nearby and uber-creative art on the walls at Campbell’s Place, Chestnut Hill Coffee, Nichols Berg and all of the galleries … It keeps us in shape,” he said.

Lomax continues to work on greeting cards at Kathy Davis Studios but works on her artwork in a host of mediums at night. On her work desk were Cork Peeps, little characters made out of champagne corks.

He and Lomax have exhibited several works at Nichols Berg Gallery, including Patchell’s cartoon of the Wissahickon Valley. “We just love walking down there and taking pictures or bringing a sketchbook and relaxing. It’s a very special place,” he added.

Patchell recently conducted a free comic book workshop for kids at the Nichols Berg Gallery and received rave reviews. “If I touched one young person and gave them the skills and encouragement to become an artist or cartoonist, then it was worth it.”

On his colorful web site, Patchell describes himself this way. “I am a cartoonist, illustrator, designer and all-around art monkey. I have lived in Philly my entire life and truly love this city. I divide my time between making art, teaching and collaborating with the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society. My art has appeared on everything from comic books to greeting cards.”

His theory on art: “Monsters & Robots make everything better.”

Perhaps this quote sums up his life now. “I live in a tree house on the top of the highest hill with my lovely girlfriend, and we make pictures.”

For samples of Patch’s work, visit www.artbypatch.com or e-mail patchworx13@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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