top of page

State of Mind, completed in 2016, was one of the first times I used this style of design-work which I have continued to develop and integrate into my art in different ways over time. It was created as the first of a series of pieces in my Senior Portfolio class in High School and ended up being displayed - and sold to a gallery patron - in my Senior Art Show at the City Arts Factory in Orlando. Thankfully, we were taught from day one to maintain a digital portfolio of our work, so I have these high-quality images to remember and look back on.

This work is done entirely with Sharpie on thick paper mounted on foam board and it measures 23.5 by 22 inches. It breaks apart into the four lobes of the brain (and the brain stem) and hidden within the patterns are illustrations that symbolize some of the general functions of each part. Some of them are more visible than others, especially if you know what you're looking for, though honestly even I can't pick out all of them amid the overall noise at this point.


I was recently sorting though some of my photos when I found some images I had taken of a couple of the lobes at the beginning stages of the drawing process, specifically for the purpose of documenting these hidden objects. I'm not sure at this point if the inconsistency in record keeping was a fault at the inception stage as I was drawing or whether I simply misplaced some of these images over time, but I have done my best to pick out and highlight the symbols I can find in each lobe, no matter what stage of the process I have pictures of.

I have paired these keys with some information on the general functions of each lobe that each symbol represents, so you can learn about the brain while you're exploring my art (which was kind of the idea behind the project, though it may have been obscured by the sheer volume of noise).

Anyhow, enjoy - and if you happen to see something that I missed, I would love to hear from you! Like I said, I waited long enough to make this key that it's a bit of a puzzle to me as well.

Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe deals with thinking, planning, movement, decision making, moderating socially appropriate behavior, and lots of other fun useful stuff. With that being said, I am quite sure that there are more symbols in this part of the brain, I just can't quite make them out. There is some text along the outer edge on the left, though I'm not sure whether that is important or just part of how I filled the space as it is impossible to actually read.


Most of the symbols are relatively straightforward (I think) but for those of you wondering, the green slug-looking thing is a riddle from Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson that reads "What dreams in red, mines gold in veins, makes a good stew, and always complains?" - I'm not sure if the shape is meant to be a speech bubble or a leech (as that is the answer to the riddle). 

Image 1 - Yellow (Planning), Red (Inhibition), Green (Problem Solving)

Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe deals with a lot of the academic skills including reading and mathematics. It also helps with information processing, such as processing sensory information in relation to its context.

I hope you enjoy the nerdy reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Image 1 - Yellow, Goldenrod, Orange, and Cyan (Reading), Purple (Spatial Perception), Pink and Mint (Visual Perception)
Image 2 - Green (Math/Number Associations)

Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe mainly processes understanding languages and  stores long-term memories. It also contains a region that specializes in recognizing faces.

Image 1 - Red (Language/Speech), Orange (Memory), Yellow (Emotions),
Pink (Auditory)
e 2 - Yellow (Ideas), Pink (Love), Purple (Emotions)
Image 3 - Beige (Facial Recognition), Yellow (

Occipital Lobe

The occipital lobe is primarily focused on sight and color identification, so there's not a lot of variety in this collection. Along with the go-to anatomical diagram of the eye, the other symbols pretty much just represent color.

Also of note in this particular progress shot are the wrinkled lines of grey matter, which are also incorporated in each of the four lobes of the cerebrum (the cerebellum has different lines).

Image 1 - Mint (Eye), Blue and Magenta (Color)
Image 2 - Rainbow (Visible Light Spectrum)