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Oklahoma City woman with muscular dystrophy continues to pursue her passion for art

Tammy Brummell, a local graphic designer and photographer, deals with the challenges of muscular dystrophy as she pursues her passion for art.
BY RICK ROGERS Published: February 11, 2011

One of life's most anticipated rites of passage occurs at age 21, a time when most people are looking toward the future and the promise it holds. When Oklahoma City artist Tammy Brummell turned 21, she was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

While this degenerative muscle disease would eventually rob Brummell of some mobility, her passion for art has remained undiminished. The graphic designer and photographer is one of five artists whose works will be spotlighted at Istvan Gallery through April 30.

“Viewing her work, one would never guess that the artist suffers from muscular dystrophy, and each piece she produces is not only a labor of love, it is a labor of pain,” said Stephen Kovash, owner of Istvan Gallery.

Brummell combines photography with graphic design elements to create works with multiple layers. In addition to using a palette of vibrant colors, Brummell often employs vintage wallpaper and fabrics in her creations.

“Sometimes I'll take a photograph and start layering it with other images until I get the colors I like,” Brummell said of her artistic process. “Then I'll do some deconstruction and remove parts of the image to let other layers come through.”

Positive outlook

Although confined to a wheelchair for the past seven years, Brummell retains a positive outlook. Her increased involvement in the visual arts community has not only resulted in greater artistic recognition, but has also given her motivation to continuing working.

“Creating art gives me a sense of accomplishment,” Brummell said. “When other people express their admiration for your work, it makes you feel like you're going in the right direction. That has been a huge motivation for me.”

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If you go

Art Show

When: Opens today with a 6 to 10 p.m. artists' reception, followed by an open house from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The exhibit will remain on view through April 30.

Where: Istvan Gallery, 1218 N Western Ave.

Information: 831-2874 or


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