Article Image

Cohabitating with COVID-19 Through Sculpture

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

This is part of the Medical Humanities series on Op-Med, which showcases creative work by Doximity members. Do you have a creative work related to your medical practice that you’d like to share? Send it to us here.

What was your inspiration? Did other creative works, if any, influence your creation of this piece? 

This is a pandemic themed piece called “The Joys of Cohabitation.” It is a sculpture made from nail polish, wood, and wire inquiring into the future of a pandemic wherein we seem too politically splintered to actually engage an extinction or elimination strategy to bring about its end. What's left is cohabitation, living alongside COVID-19 for some time. This work presents a post-apocalyptic scene wherein children wear hazmat suits and gas masks and are jumping rope with downed power lines, presumably because the pandemic has led to a degree of infrastructure failure. This is not meant to be a catastrophized prediction of the future, but more asking the question: What will become of our future if we cannot collaborate enough to effectively end this pandemic? And in its way, it also presents a display of the willingness of human beings to adapt to and survive the darkest of circumstances, even at times, to a fault. 

How long have you been doing this activity? What got you started? 

About 10 years ago, initially I made jewelry out of broken guitar strings. I wanted to paint in a wire bug’s wings, and drew nail polish over the empty frame. 

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your involvement in or views on arts in medicine? 

I am currently involved in developing a certificate program for Medical Humanities/Narrative Medicine, with a focus on the arts and what they can teach us as physicians. 

Why did you choose this medium? What interests you about it? 

It is a medium I developed many years ago, using nail polish lacquer between wire frames as a kind of stained glass. 

How does this submission relate to your medical practice? 

This relates to my medical practice as we have been seeing COVID-19 patients at the psychiatric hospital for some time, and this piece reflects on my frustrations over vaccine hesitancy and feeling there is still no end in sight.

Eric Zabriskie, MD, is a third year resident in psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, TN. He plans on specializing in adult psychiatry with a focus on trauma related and anxiety disorders. He has been sculpting in wire and nail polish and composing music on the side for many years.

All opinions published on Op-Med are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of Doximity or its editors. Op-Med is a safe space for free expression and diverse perspectives. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email

More from Op-Med