Points With Purpose: From Thousands of Tragic Events, a Beautiful Drawing is Born

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Points With Purpose is a new art project created by celebrity artist, David Ilan, where each dot in the pointillism drawing represents a real person who has been raped or sexually abused. People can join the project for free at http://www.PointsWithPurpose.com. Every person who joins gets one dot drawn in their honor.

"Today I spoke with someone I have known for many years and she told me she will join the project. I had no idea she had experienced anything like that before," says celebrity portrait artist David Ilan about his new project, Points With Purpose. "An hour before that I spoke to a woman who I've known for a year. She told me all about how she was raped! I had no idea."

Points With Purpose is a new project started by Ilan to help bring to light the many untold stories of rape victims, and to turn their stories into artwork. The title refers to a style of illustration called pointillism, in which the artist creates a picture using a series of small dots. Ilan has been working with pointillism for nearly twenty years, and has spent the past ten creating portraits for celebrities such as Eric McCormack and the cast of Seinfeld. But for this project, he felt he needed to remove the celebrity aspect of his work and draw someone who could be anyone, because that is the reality of rape. Also, he wanted the focus on the message, not the face:

"For the first time in 10 years I decided to have a non-celebrity pose for me. In fact, she is the exact opposite. Because of the personal nature of this project, no one will ever know who she is. For the first time in a long time, the message behind my work is more significant than the person who modeled for it."

In his new project, each dot will represent one woman. Participants can join the project by simply adding their name or an alias at the website, PointsWithPurpose.com. They also have the option of sharing their story. The result will be a portrait of a woman who is strong, beautiful, and recovered.

"After I started this project all these people I have known for years were starting to tell me about their horrible experiences," Ilan says. "I had no idea how many people I know have been raped. There are people all around us who have gone through this, but never told a soul. The great thing about this project is that it has a mix of people at different stages of recovery. Maybe some of the survivors' stories will give hope to the people who can still be considered victims."

Ilan, a married father of two young daughters, says that the part of the crime that is rarely discussed lies in the aftermath of the violence itself--a loss of identity and sexuality. He hopes this project will help victims reclaim some of what they've lost.

"I have had a special place in my heart for this topic for years because I know two people who have been raped and I saw how they were affected by it," Ilan says. "It wasn't until I saw The Vagina Monologues, though, that I was moved enough to do something about it. Part of The Vagina Monologues tells the stories of women who have been raped. The show is very moving and inspiring. It inspired me to take a break from the drawings that I usually do and put together a project that can help people."

On the project's website, Ilan explains:
A victim of rape or sexual abuse is actually a victim of multiple crimes. Other than the incident itself being a horrible crime, victims actually had rights stolen from them as well. Every person has the right and ability to feel beautiful and confident and every person should be proud of who they are. With help and time these rights can, and should, be taken back. Taking back these rights and feelings transforms the victim into a survivor.

The transformation of thousands of victims into a drawing of a survivor--a confident, proud and beautiful woman-- is the key concept of the drawing. The people who are represented in the dots will be in various stages of the transformation. Some of the people may have already made the transformation and some may be struggling to move past their victimization. After all, each dot represents a real person with real emotions. But all the dots represent people who have a story of rape or sexual abuse in common. Hopefully, one day all the dots will represent only one type of person, the survivor.

"One phrase that seems to pop up over and over again when people see the artwork up close is, 'I can't believe those are all dots,'" Ilan says. "From the beginning, I wanted to use that reaction to make a statement in the project. That is how I came up with the idea to have each dot represent a real person who has been raped or sexually abused. This way people can say 'I can't believe all those dots represent real people' when they see this drawing up close. In the end, there will be thousands of names and thousands of dots, all working together to create a work of art."

Anyone interested in joining or reading more about the project can visit the website: http://www.pointswithpurpose.com

David Ilan

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