J.P. Licks, the Boston-area ice cream shop, hosts visiting artists who apply to have their work hung up at the various locations throughout the city. On Wednesday, the J.P. Licks in Brookline, Mass. held a reception for its newest artist, Stephanie Cohen. The reception served complimentary coffee and refreshments, in addition to putting on art-related trivia games.
Cohen is a third-year student at Tufts University School of Medicine who came to Boston as an undergraduate to pursue an education in art and science. She received her B.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.
Cohen took a ceramics course as a freshman and fell in love with it, she said. She got further involved with the arts when she illustrated a cover for Tufts’ Journal of Global Health and worked to help create a mural for the City of Boston.
Shak, Cohen’s boyfriend, who was visiting the reception, enthusiastically described Cohen’s work as “an exciting exploration between the human body and art.” Cohen’s creations are intricate renderings that combine anatomical elements with musical and other surrealist imagery—a perfect merger of her two passions.
“Art and science are the same,” Cohen said. “They both deal with taking data and facts, interpreting them, and expressing them effectively.”
Cohen said she uses art in medical school to remember certain pathologies by combining features of animals and parts of anatomy in ways one might not expect. Specifically, she talked about how she was reminded of a warty frog in a cardiology course she was taking. She demonstrated the connection she saw in her art—a piece of a combined frog and heart. Cohen’s art is generally intersectional—she frequently draws connections between the human body and art.
“This series of drawings incorporates human anatomy and musical instruments, because I was thinking about how if one violin [in an orchestra] is out of tune, it throws off the contribution of the string section, making everything off balance,” she said. “It impacts the harmony of the entire symphony. I felt that that related to medicine in that a chemical imbalance on the cellular level can have severe implications, and manifest itself in systemic disease.”
Monica, a friend of Cohen’s at the reception, came because viewing art is something that she said she doesn’t get to do very often. She believes that Cohen’s combination of her passions is both unique and important.
Even though the young artist loves her craft, she still looks to pursue a career in medicine.
“It’s really important for people to keep their passions while pursuing medical school,” Cohen said. “It makes it easier and more enriching.”
Images by Nestoras Apodiakos / For the Heights