Erin Jacques is originally from the West Coast but has been living in North Carolina for the past 12 years. She is the mother of three amazing children, her oldest son Bryce who would be thirty-three years old this year, passed away on October 17, 2018, from endocarditis followed by two strokes leading to brain death as a result of IV drug use. Erin did not start painting until a year after his passing, she paints as therapy and a way to connect with her son. Most of her paintings are landscapes, she loves the outdoors, and her son also loved the beach, the mountains, and outdoor sports. Bryce was an amazing son and man, very loving and caring, always giving and trying to help others, he loved his family, friends, and job as an ironworker in California’s bay area. He is desperately missed by his family, each painting that Erin creates contains his initials “BT.” The hope is that through these paintings, awareness of this devastating disease will increase, and stigma and shame will be replaced with real help and understanding.
Jennifer Alba is a North Carolina native. She lived in Greensboro most of her life but moved to Raleigh in 2014. She is a mother of 3 boys. Her oldest son Joseph passed away on September 2, 2017, from a drug overdose. Joseph struggled with addiction for 16 years. Soon after his death, Jennifer started painting and hiding Joseph’s (Joe Joe) name in each painting to memorialize him. Painting became a way of therapy for Jennifer, and her other two sons enjoy trying to find Joe Joe’s name in the artwork. Jennifer’s painting style is mostly abstract, using contrasting colors. Along with Erin, Jennifer’s hope through her paintings is to bring awareness to the disease of addiction and, thru our stories, reduce the stigma that surrounds this disease. Our boys were so much more than what our society stigmatizes them as. They were bright, smart, and sensitive human beings that lost their lives to a horrible disease.