Several years ago I battled a yucky bacterial infection called clostridia difficile (c-diff) for about a year before receiving a successful fecal microbiota transplant. While recovering from the physical and mental damage caused by the infection, I began to make work about my very lonely experience with illness. My goal was to start a dialogue about the messy aspects of illness we typically avoid talking about (diarrhea, depression, medication side-effects, weight changes, mood changes, etc.). I created an Instagram account devoted to this cause (you can find me under the handle "poojazzle") where I use humor and art to talk about these things. I eventually began making actual "poojazzles" (small, detailed glitter paintings based off of watercolor sketches of my actual bowel movements) when I realized just how hesitant many of my friends and family still were to talk about poop. After having someone else's stool slathered along my colon in order to re-colonize my microbiome and eradicate the stubborn c-diff infection, I myself had a new bright and shiny outlook on the substance and wanted to spread the gospel, so I threw some glitter on it. Flash forward a little over a year and poo is all the rage--hot shit, even. I decided the ideal final resting place for these poojazzles is the bathroom at my colorectal surgeon's office. I have kept in touch with Dr. Allen Kamrava, my favorite doctor of all time, since my FMT, sending him carefully designed cards and links to my work over the years. He even commissioned humorous FMT stickers based off of one my cards to adorn the paperwork of his FMT patients.
I would hope that by displaying this work in Dr. K's office, to an audience of c-diff infected patients or others suffering from bowel-related afflictions, it may give others the confidence that they should feel no shame discussing their symptoms or their road to recovery. It might help them to know that they are not alone, and hopefully it will bring a smile to their face during a difficult time.
Sydney Snyder is a multidisciplinary artist and art educator based in Los Angeles, CA. After earning a BA in Art from Chapman University in 2010, Snyder moved to Denver, CO, where she worked as an art educator for three years. In 2013, Snyder was diagnosed with refractory clostridium difficile colitis, an increasingly antibiotic resistant bacterial infection of the large colon. After living with the icky symptoms of this infection for close to a year, Snyder received a successful fecal microbiota transplant and shifted the focus of her practice to making work about the experience of living with illness. The bulk of this work is housed on Instagram under the handle “poojazzle.” Snyder’s goal with @poojazzle is to create a space for dialogue about the messy, behind the scenes, stigmatized aspects of illness through humor and (over)sharing of experiences related to being sick. Snyder is one of the world’s only known living feminist poop-art makers.
Snyder’s work has been exhibited in galleries in Los Angeles, Denver, and Portland as well as internationally in Lendava, Slovenia and Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.