A Visual Translator

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Artist Statement

As a visual translator of complex information, it is my goal to support education and research in science and medicine. I believe the visual medium has a power to stimulate the imagination, facilitate learning, and inspire scientific research. Through my training in medical illustration and clinical anaplastology, I have rendered surgical procedures, fabricated facial prostheses and 3D printed anatomical models from medical imaging data to help patients understand their current situation, treatment options and associated risks. By utilizing my work, clinicians have been able to simulate surgical procedures to improve their skills, confidence and ultimately patient outcome. I seek to combine art, medicine and technology, specifically medical imaging and 3D printing, to improve the lives of those around me as I continue my medical career. 

My passion for art has existed ever since my early years in Taiwan. My mother was a nurse and after school I would wait for her at the hospital. To pass the time, I would sketch portraits of those around me, made paper cranes as get well wishes and amused patients and visitors with silly cartoon drawings. When I moved to the U.S. at the age of 10, I was at a loss with the new language and culture. I sought refuge in art. Through it, communication and cultural barriers were transcended and even eliminated. In high school, my art teacher strongly encouraged me to incorporate art into my future. I still remember our fist high school art assignment in charcoal. I fell in love with charcoal instantly as it offered both fluidity and contrast. 

A boy and a girl posing for a photo

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Portrait of Kevin and Ashlee, charcoal on paper

Being interested in both art and science, I decided to major in Art and Biology in college. Naturally, I began illustrating for my biology courses with a special interest in human anatomy and marine turtles at the time.

A picture containing turtle, reptile

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A person posing for the camera

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Marine turtle and flipper studies, charcoal on paper

A statue of a person

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After Alex Grey, graphite on paper

As an artist, I continued to challenge myself and began exploring other art media including oils. The vivid colors captivated me and its ability to be manipulated over an extended amount of time allowed me to capture the realism I wished to portray. 

A picture containing person, sculpture, indoor, building

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White Still-Life, oils on canvas

A picture containing table, indoor

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Sewing of Vocal Folds, oils on wood

Soon I was approached by my scientific mentors to illustrate anatomic specimens for lab manuals.

A close up of an animal

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A close up of an animal

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Anatomic Specimens, color pencil on paper

Due to my interest in both art and science, I pursued a graduate degree in medical illustration. I learned the importance of keen observation as well as thorough research to ensure anatomic accuracy while learning how to most effectively visually communicate complex information for education. During this time, I began to illustrate more scientific and medical subject matters in traditional and digital media including 3D modeling software.

Anterior and Posterior Views of Shoulder, graphite on paper

A picture containing linedrawing

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Anterolateral View of the Knee, graphite on paper

Spleen, Corel Painter

A close up of text on a white background

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Enucleation, Adobe Illustrator

A picture containing text, map

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Osteotomy, Adobe Illustrator

A close up of a flower

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Ovulation, Adobe Photoshop

A picture containing red, table

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Red Blood Cells, Autodesk 3dsMax

A pair of scissors

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Retractor, Autodesk 3dsMax

A picture containing indoor, vase, sitting, table

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Knee, Autodesk 3dsMax

A close up of a flower

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Rhinovirus, Autodesk Maya

A person looking at the camera

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3dMD Self Portrait, Autodesk 3dsMax

In addition to medical illustration, I also began training in the field of anaplastology, a branch of medicine dealing with prosthetic rehabilitation. This specialty provided me the opportunity to further explore the 3D realm of prosthetic fabrication for patients with missing anatomy.

A close up of a hand

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Auricular Prosthesis, medical grade silicone

A picture containing indoor, sitting, person

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Nasal Prosthesis, medical grade silicone

A picture containing white, wall, metalware

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Ocular, methylmethacrylate

A close up of a person with his mouth open

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Patient with hemifacial microsomia with bar implant (left). Auricular prothesis clipped on bar implant (right).

A picture containing table, food, indoor

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Facial prostheses from nasal (upper left), orbital (lower left) to auricular (lower right) in their respective dental stone molds

Fascinated by the potential of 3D technology, I began assisting with virtual surgical planning and 3D printing patient specific models using medical imaging data acquired from the patient. Using the medical imaging data, I digitally fabricated surgical guides to optimize prosthetic treatment outcomes. 

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3D printed surgical guides and patient skull for orbital implant placement

Through my training in prosthetic rehabilitation, I was able to contribute my artistic and scientific skills for patient care and education. Desiring to do more for my patients, I ultimately decided to pursue medicine. 

Despite the rigors of medical school, I strived to create and to foster a supportive environment for others to do the same; thus, I revived the College of Medicine Artists Group along with Body Electric our literary arts journal https://joom.ag/CbOp 

My anaplastology colleague and I were even sponsored by Chicago Lighthouse for the visually impaired to create an installation on Michigan Avenue in Chicago for the inclusion of people with disabilities.

A tall building in a city

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A picture containing person, holding

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Make the World Felt, co-created by Yu-Hui Huang and Eduardo Arias

I often draw my inspiration from my childhood in Taiwan. Such as my first animation about the origin of a panda from a Tibetan folklore and a digital painting on mindfulness from memories of a pagoda I used to visit in Taiwan.

Mindfulness, Adobe Photoshop

When time permits, I go back to simple pencil drawings of those around me.

A vintage photo of a person

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Portrait of Pete and Len, graphite on paper

A group of people posing for a photo

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Luis Family Portrait, graphite on paper

I initially began my pursuit of art to assist the scientific and medical community. However, I now value arts and humanities more than mere tools of communication and education. They are what connects us, how we express ourselves, how we reflect upon our experiences and how we are understood. Not only does art teach us to observe and pay attention, it inspires us, touches us and connects us to one another. 

Biography

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Yu-Hui Huang immigrated to Birmingham, Alabama at the age of 10. She received a B.A. in Art and a B.S. in Biology with minors in Art History and Chemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2009. During her undergraduate studies, she co-founded an Art Guild and created scientific and medical illustrations for the university. Her illustrations have been published in textbooks and scientific journals, and her artworks have been exhibited in the university’s Visual Arts Gallery, Birmingham Museum of Art, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and Cannon House Tunnel leading to the U.S. Capitol Building.

In 2010, she moved to Chicago, Illinois to advance her training as a medical artist. She obtained a M.S. in Biomedical Visualization with concentrations in Medical Illustration and Clinical Anaplastology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. Through her graduate study, she continued to illustrate for medical education and research while investigating how art and technology, especially medical imaging and 3D printing, can be utilized to improve prosthetic treatment and outcome for patients.

After completing her M.S. in Biomedical Visualization, she entered medical school in 2014 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to receiving her medical degree, she also obtained a second M.S in Clinical & Translational Science. During her medical training, she revived the College of Medicine Artist Group and Body Electric: UIC College of Medicine Literary Arts Journal to provide students the opportunity to have a creative outlet, share their art with peers, and bring their art into the clinic for the benefit of patients. Her artworks have been shown in the International Museum of Surgical Science, National Museum of Health + Medicine, Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center Gallery, Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois College of Medicine Health Humanities Library, Illinois Board of Higher Education, American College of Physicians: Humanities in Medicine, Radiological Society of North America at McCormick’s Place as well as a public installation on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. 

Dr. Huang is currently a Transitional Year resident at Hennepin County Medical Center and will be specializing in radiology at the University of Minnesota. Despite the demanding schedule of a resident, Dr. Huang continues to create when time permits and her works have been displayed at the Arts Quarter Festival at the University of Minnesota and the Heart of Hennepin Exhibit at Hennepin County Medical Center. 

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