Painting Through Narcolepsy

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Allie B. is an artist, but her story is a bit unique. This 27-year-old was born in New Orleans and had plans to travel the world, but God had other plans. You see sometimes Allie paints without even realizing what she’s doing.

“A lot of stuff is painted in a daze. It’s like lights on and nobody home, and you’re making little marks or big marks and you’re not really even coherent. You’re almost asleep with your eyes open, and if you come back to life, which I call it, you may have little marks all over the place or squiggles or lines that you weren’t aware of making,” explains Allie B., “Your body is trying to stay awake, but it can’t stay awake so that’s what makes it unique, because you might have started off owl, but now you got these little bitty stray marks, and I still manage to snap out of it whenever my body comes out of it and it’s like wow I have a painting.”

Allie found out she had narcolepsy four years ago. She was in the Air Force at the time, but had to return home. When she did she turned to painting full time and today she rents this space in Broadmoor and she’s hoping to get her business up and running.

“People think of narcolepsy as a person just falling asleep. A lot of people they’re like so you’re sleeping? I’m like no my eyes are not closed at the canvas. It’s almost like a daze or a trance.”

Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder that impacts one in every 2,000 people. Medication can help patients like Allie, but they can’t cure her.

“I’m not going to let it hamper me. I’m just going to make it a part of what I do.”

To see some of Allie’s art click here.