North Texas Daily

In face of uncertain future, local artist hopeful

In face of uncertain future, local artist hopeful

In face of uncertain future, local artist hopeful
September 03
11:27 2013

Christina Ulsh / Senior Staff Writer

In June, Nevada Hill went on a family vacation in Galveston. When he took his shirt off to swim, his family noticed a big black mole on his back and urged him to get it checked out.

About a month later, he found a bump in his left underarm. His dad offered to pay for him to get it looked at.

When the dermatologist determined the mole on his back was melanoma, he went to an oncologist who said the lump under his arm was also a malignant tumor.

Hill has a full-time job as an artist and also does freelance art projects when he gets home from work. He is also a musician and he studied printmaking at UNT. He has lived in Denton intermittently over the past 10 years. His job does not offer health insurance.

“I was working full time until I got diagnosed with cancer,” Hill said. “People with jobs that work their a–es off but don’t get health care still need health care.”

Hill’s first reaction to his diagnosis was thinking that he didn’t have cancer.

“I am pretty much going through the five steps of grief right now. You go through a denial phase, then you get angry, then you’re sad,” he said.

At this point, he said he has accepted the diagnosis, despite the severity of it.

“Melanoma is the worst form of skin cancer,” said Anna Perron, a nurse at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton.

He said the process of getting treatment frustrates him. He is seeking treatment at Parkland Hospital in Dallas for his surgeries and is waiting for the health provider to call him back.

“It’s basically a generosity program. They fix up convicts and homeless [people],” he said.

Regardless, Hill said his attitude is positive. He doubts he will die from it and is more      concerned about surgery, something he has never experienced before.

He may not have the funds, or the current health, to be granted private health insurance,  but  the support of his friends is helping him pay     for treatment.

“My first thoughts were, ‘What can I do to help?’” said Britt Robisheaux, Hill’s bandmate  and friend.

Robisheaux is putting together three benefit shows for Hill. Entry to the shows will be  between $5 and $10. He said he is keeping the price of admittance low to ensure more  people will come.

Local DFW artist, Nevada Hill dips his brush in a gallon of blue paint. Hill has been painting a mural for four days on the eastern wall outside of Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. -Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer

At each show, raffle tickets will be available for purchase.

“We have signed records and art,” Robisheaux said. “There will be gift certificates to Good Records and Doc’s Records. The list of stuff keeps growing.”

Musicians, artists and stores donated items to be raffled. None of the items were just lying around Hill’s house.

“It will be more of a positive thing than making money,” he said.

Hill has the same mentality. He hesitantly put a donation button on his website at the request of his close friends.

“You can donate, but I’m going to send you something, like a painting. People are doing it and are sweet and nice but you have to work for what you get,” Hill said.

He said he is overwhelmed and humbled by the response he is getting.

“I couldn’t imagine getting this kind of reaction out of people,” he said.

Overwhelmed with emotion, Hill took to his Facebook page to thank donators.

“When I checked my PayPal account last night, I started to cry. Not like full-on crying, but crying like you just won an award for something you

Nevada Hill paints his mural, Heart of The Underground, on the outside of Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Hill graduated from UNT in 2005 with a BA in Printmaking. -Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer

have spent a lifetime creating,” Hill said on his Facebook.

Hill has stepped back from his career as a musician. Instead, he is focusing more on his art, which serves as a mental relief for him.

“I’m happy if I can work on what I want to work on, like working on the mural,” he said. “That’s therapeutic for me.”

Hill has been working on a mural for Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio, a local concert venue on East Sycamore Street. The venue refers to Nevada Hill as a family member on its Facebook page. The last of the three planned benefit shows will be held there.

The mural will display a huge heart with arteries that reach out and penetrate the houses around it.

“I wanted to do something that was more of a tribute to Rubber Gloves. When the taqueria DIY shows got shut down, Rubber Gloves said it would pick up any shows that were booked. To me, it’s like the heart of the underground,” Hill said with paint flecks in his hair. “It gives a megaphone to the underground or experimental artist. It’s like the heart going out to house venues.”

Hill said one professor from his time at UNT really sticks out in his mind.

He and Justin Quinn, who was an assistant professor of art at UNT for four years, used to trade music, and one particular encounter at a bar greatly influenced Hill’s career as an artist.

“We were talking about art and he just slammed me really hard against the wall to where everybody stopped to look at what was happening, like we were about to fight,” Hill said. “He was like, ‘That’s what art should feel like!’”

Donations for Hill’s treatment can be made at www.nevadahill.com

Feature photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

Correction: The print version of this article incorrectly referred to Nevada Hill as a full-time, freelance artist. This version has been corrected.

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