Artist uses lipstick from women touched by breast cancer to create lasting tributes

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:21 AM CDT
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HOUSTON (KHOU) - A Houston artist honors women battling breast cancer through her one-of-a-kind art.

Katherine Mason uses donated lipstick from those touched by the disease to bring her pieces to life.

She spends hours in her studio, lipstick in hand.

“Sometimes I leave the studio and smell like lipstick,” she said.

The unlikely tools help turn empty canvas into art.

“I’m doing this for more than just me,” Mason said.

Her journey started in 2016, when a close friend was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.

“She would put lipstick on before all of her chemo treatments, and it made her feel so much better,” Mason said. “It made her feel so much more beautiful, strong and powerful.”

Learning that changed everything.

“I figured it comes in a tube, so it’s kind of like a crayon. And I can kind of manipulate in those ways, and I wanted to challenge myself,” she said

She started her lipstick series to help support women who battled and are battling breast cancer.

“There’s been lots of tears in my studio,” Mason said.

She first focused on the female body, then florals.

“I hope that they see beauty in the pieces,” Mason said.

Her latest piece is vintage boxing gloves.

“They symbolize that the battle these people are fighting (is) for their lives,” Mason said.

Her work has touched women across the country. They send her letters with stories of breast cancer battles, triumphs and loss.

“I want to show these women the respect that they deserve through my work,” Mason said.

But it’s the lipstick that comes in the mail belonging to those that breast cancer swept away that fuels her continued mission.

“Those are always really special packages to receive,” Mason said. “These lipsticks belonged to women and they were in a sense part of their life. I know that there are women whose spirits live on in my work.”

A network of strong, beautiful women come together on canvas, in the hope that money raised through Mason’s art can help one day find a cure.

“I don’t want to just leave behind pretty pictures. I want to leave behind impact. I want to do something to help other people,” she said.

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