The Brain Surgeon’s Coloring Book, 2019
Three digital line drawings
8.5 x 11 inches each
Commissioned by the 2019 NLE Curatorial Lab

Kathryn Ko is a neurosurgeon who has practiced at Kings County Hospital Center and a multimedia artist who takes her inspiration from her neurosurgical career. “I see myself making art with the analysis of a surgeon and doing surgery with the vision of an artist,” she says. Inspired by coloring books that are traditionally found in hospital waiting rooms, Ko created a series of coloring pages for (after)care that plays with the relationship between drawing and surgery. She challenges participants to treat the coloring book pages as a complex eight-hour operation, distilled to simple line drawings. Operating with only paper and crayon — and knowing the importance of precision in brain surgery — staying within the lines is the difference between life and death.