A heartfelt creative

January 28, 2021 BY

Geelong teenager David Saunders was the inspiration for artist Laine Hogarty's UooUoo artwork. This picture was taken in September last year. David sadly passed away just before Christmas.

LAINE Hogarty believes her best work is always achieved when it comes from the heart.

So it was serendipitous that the Ocean Grove artist was invited to be part of an art trail celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Laine was among the 100 creatives state-wide – including 11 from this region – who each painted an UooUoo, a mythical animal resembling a cross between a wombat and a dugong.

The sculptures were unveiled by the RCH Foundation this week and are now on display across Melbourne and at Federal Mills in North Geelong.

Ocean Grove artist Laine Hogarty. Photo: ROXIE BENNETT

Laine’s brightly-hued creation, named Pixo&Pixa, depicts the two sides of the human brain and is dedicated to the memory of Geelong teenager David Saunders whose courage and positivity inspired her work.

David, the son of Laine’s long-time friend Jodie and her husband Ian, sadly passed away just before Christmas last year after a two-year battle with an inoperable grade four Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumour.

The Covenant College student was able to see the completed work last year in what was a humbling and unforgettable experience for Laine.

In a touching video interview filmed by Laine that day and shared on her Instagram account, David describes the artwork as “amazing” and explains how he would always “look on the bright side” to cope with his condition and many hospital visits.

“David has been an inspiration since his birth – he survived and thrived against three brain bleeds as a three-month prem baby and lived a fully normal life until his eye started to turn on a strange angle when he was 12 years old,” Laine explains.

“It turned out to be an inoperable brain tumour. David demonstrated great courage and acceptance of his situation – he never gave up trying to recover and to do all he could to get better.”

The starting point for Laine’s design was a digital drawing exploring pixel plasticity.

“Pixels are very malleable now with the software that we have got to work with so you can almost push them around on the surface,” she says.

“I started to look at the plasticity of the pixels and all of a sudden in a flash I thought ‘this is so much like neuroplasticity’.”

Proud mum Jodie Saunders and her son David.

As a result, her UooUoo contemplates the brain’s ability to create new neurone pathways to heal and regenerate the body. The work is created in two halves – a male side called Pixo and a female side named Pixa – in recognition of all the boys and girls treated by the RCH.

Laine, an award-winning artist who completed a Masters of Fine Art (Art in Public Places) at RMIT, says her art explores how we experience spaces in everyday life.

A working artist since 1999, she has loved drawing since childhood and won art prizes in primary school judged by legendary Melbourne cartoonist, Jeff Hook.

“He was my hero and I loved to find the hooks he hid in his cartoons for children to discover,” she says.

“I was reflecting on that and decided to paint 14 hearts on the UooUoo to honour 14-year-old David’s brave heart – there are seven hidden on each side.”

The UooUoo, which took 26 days to complete, is on display at Federal Mills until March 21. Laine is thankful for her sponsor Wealth Built Right, Pivot City for providing a workspace, as well as event organiser Shane Buzza and RCH Foundation CEO Sue Hunt for bringing the art trail vision to life.

“There is still so much more we need to understand about the brain and also about the specific impacts upon the health of children in particular,” Laine says of the need for more research.

“I hope this artwork can help raise awareness and encourage people to donate to the incredible work of RCH and hopefully Pixo&PIxa can continue to spread the message of love and admiration for their work by celebrating the hospital’s legacy of 150 years of care.”

For more information about the RCH 150th Anniversary Art Trail visit

www.uoouoo.org.au and follow Laine’s journey on Instagram @laineway1.

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