Remote video URL

Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at only 3 months old, artist Dylan Mortimer transforms the strain of a debilitating disease into glittery depictions of hope and beauty. 

Mortimer, who has had two double lung transplants, creates art that adds vibrancy and intensifies images of lungs, bronchial branches, cells, strands of DNA, and scars. 

“I use glitter as a stark contrast to a really ugly, nasty disease,” he says. “I’m honest about the despair and darkness [of CF], but also try to be hopeful in that, to keep pressing along, even when you don’t think there’s a way out.”

Dylan Mortimer's artwork
Dylan Mortimer's cystic fibrosis art display

Mortimer’s installation, “As I Live and Breathe,” was on display in the Medical Museum Gallery B of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics from October 2019 through April 2020. 

Research at the UI has helped increase the lifespan of patients with CF, with the prospect of even greater gains coming from newly approved drugs that may benefit the majority of people with CF.