Virgil Wong on Artistry, Drawing Cadavers and Visualizing Health Information

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Several years ago, as a result of a conversation with Karen Cheng, I taught myself how to draw. Mostly by following the steps played out in the book You Can Draw In 30 Days I learned all of the incremental components to be able to draw circles, increasingly complex perspectives, and eventually my own hand. But even more interesting that specific techniques, I was interested to explore perception, even without the ability to produce photo realistic drawings.

So, when I met Virgil Wong (@virgilwong), I was equally intrigued by his company Medical Avatar and by his artistry.

Virgil is the co-founder and CEO of Medical Avatar, which is a mobile health company that creates visual representations to help patients and clinicians better understand their own health information. As a visual artist working with concepts in medicine and technology, Virgil has exhibited interactive installations, films, paintings, drawings, and prints in galleries and museums around the world, including TED.

In this interview, Virgil shares why he went blindfolded for a week in his childhood, how a family medical crisis gave rise to Medical Avatar, and how he has balanced a life and career between the arts and medicine. We explore the mental models and practices that Virgil has adopted, and at the end of the interview he turns the tables and asks me about the same.

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