Origin of Street Anatomy

anatomical heart on wall

Ever wondered why I named my blog Street Anatomy?

I’ve always been a huge fan of street art. And I’m not talking about the graffiti-style-scribble-your-name-on-the-brick-wall type of street art. I enjoy the street art that makes a statement in an aesthetically pleasing way. One of the most famous street artists out there and by far my favorite is Banksy. He was one of the first to use stencil graffiti, and his work is charged with dark humor and political insight. It’s definitely worth taking a look at his online gallery, even if you’re not into this type of art.

After seeing Banksy’s work and various other street stencil artists, I thought to myself, why not do something like this with anatomy? There are so many people out there who don’t even know where their liver is located, or that their heart is on the left side of their chest and not the middle, or when you pat your belly you’re really patting your intestines and not your stomach. So I thought of doing an “Urban Anatomy Project” whereby street art could be used to educate the public. For example, labeled anatomical hearts could be placed strategically near bus stops so that people could stare at them absentmindedly and absorb the differences between a ventricle and an atrium.  Muscles of the arm could be placed on a lamp post so that people could know exactly where their deltoid is located.  It would act as a sort of guerilla education tactic whereby I would bring anatomy to the streets.

Unfortunately, I am a graduate student and don’t necessarily have time to go around vandalizing Chicago with street art. Instead, I decided to start a blog where I could educate people about medical illustration/visualization. And so, I named it Street Anatomy. And I have to say it’s worked out pretty well.

I still have the “Urban Anatomy Project” in my head. It’s definitely not something I could accomplish by myself. I would need the collaborative effort of the wonderfully talented street artists out there. Maybe I’ll give it a go after I graduate.

There isn’t a lot of street art out there that focuses on anatomy. I’m always on the look out though. Here are a few Street Anatomy pieces that I’ve seen so far. Enjoy.

cheselden skeleton

William Cheselden: Osteographia, or The anatomy of the bones



4 thoughts on “Origin of Street Anatomy”

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  2. i love this idea, but 1) it saddens me that you don’t have time for your creative pursuit (although I often say the same) and 2) it is only “vandalism” because it does not comply with the institution. When every inch of space is privatized where do you expect people to create? … I would hardly call the kind of art your talking about “vandalism”. Anyway, just my two sense. Hope to see your work someday!

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