Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities


Bruce Granquist
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I thought this meant that my career as a book illustrator and calligrapher was over. But after making some experiments I realized that the tremor in my right hand allowed me to make much more expressive calligraphic lines than I had made before. I never could have imagined that the tremors could be such a powerful tool, and could help me produce a new form of beauty. Instead of being the end of my life as an artist, it was the beginning of something new.

These two paintings are both simple spirals. They begin at the outside and then tighten up until reaching the center which is left unpainted. These centers become a kind of visual sanctuary, peaceful and protected.

Before Parkinson’s. Chinese ink on paper, width 30 inches, height 22 inches, 1992. Collection of Bruce Granquist.
After Parkinson’s. Chinese ink on paper, width 30 inches, height 30 inches, 2019. Collection of Bruce Granquist.

BRUCE GRANQUIST was born in the vicinity of Chicago in 1958. He first visited Asia in 1982, and after making several subsequent short trips there, he settled In Indonesia in 1986. During that time he worked as an illustrator and cartographer, contributing to over 25 different publishing projects. Concurrently, he has worked on his own, making abstract calligraphy as a personal project. But this work is increasingly being exhibited, as he has seen that there is a growing interest in these paintings. Contact him at [email protected].

Summer 2020



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