0 4 min 9 yrs

virgil wong

We tend to view art and science as polar opposites when really they are parallel. Assimilated, these two can create more communicable and comprehendible data. In this installment of Arts and the Brain series at the Strathmore Mansion we will hear from Virgil Wong, a highly accomplished graphic artist, master of human anatomy and co-founder of Medical Avatars LLC.

Virgil Wong sometimes second guesses his decision to study art over medicine but quotes his mom as saying, “Medicine helps us live longer lives but art is about why we live; always be as proud about being an artist as you would a doctor.” Michelangelo was a 16th century sculptor who studied anatomy by dissecting corpses from the Hospital of Santo Spirito in Florence; he is often considered one of the greatest artists in human history. Between art and medicine there really is no divide.

Some of Virgil’s anatomical drawings were on display, such as “Alchemy” and “Corporeal Landscape”. Both pieces displayed excellent form. The piece “Alchemy” had two dragons placed over a human figure; the dragons represented the philosopher’s stone and the preservation of life. The print had a real clean, luminescent finish. It was probably named “Alchemy” because it was created by infusing dyes directly into specially coated aluminum sheets. The piece “Corporeal Landscape” was a collage of hundreds of anatomical drawings. Sculptor Barton Lidice Benes later added a paper skeleton crafted from actual  human remains. It was printed on a hospital bed curtain, very symbolic.

Virgil worked as Vice President of Interactive Media 115; he started to build technology-based solutions for hospitals throughout the country. In 2011, Virgil co-founded Medical Avatar LLC, a company that utilizes personalized 3-D models to translate complicated data into interactive visual health information. I thought the most fascinating feature was the ability to track epidemiological trends. Layered avatars conjoined to represent the health of a city populous as a whole. This could be used to pin point viruses and prevent an outbreak. All of your doctor’s charts and medical information could be stored as well. You information would be organized and have visual references available in the event of an emergency. You can keep track of your medicine schedule and diet more easily. It even has simulations that illustrate the consequences of poor health trends over time to motivate better health habits.

I think this application is an excellent idea and something that everybody will need and want. I didn’t have the opportunity to test the application, it’s due to be released next month. However, just the idea of being able to have a personalized visual representation of your medical records is a must. It’s a constant reminder to keep your health in mind. It sounds like a great way to more easily communicate your health and if anything else makes health fun. You can check it out for yourself at www.virgilwong.com I’m excited to follow the evolution of this technology and see what it develops into.