HOUSTON — 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 Silver Street Studio with lipstick in hand.
"Sometimes, I leave the studio and I smell like lipstick," Mason said.
It's her unlikely tool that helps her turn an 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 told us she'd put lipstick on before all of her chemo treatments, and it made her feel so much better, strong, beautiful and powerful," Mason said.
Learning that changed everything.
"I figured it comes in a tube, it's kind of like a crayon, I can manipulate it in those ways and I wanted to challenge myself," Mason said.
She started her Lipstick Series to help support women who have battled and are battling breast cancer.
"There's been lots of tears and hugs in my studio," Mason said.
Mason first focused on the female body and then florals.
"I hope they see beauty in the pieces," Mason said.
Now, her latest piece is painting a vintage pair of leather boxing gloves.
"They symbolize the battle that they're fighting for their lives," Mason said.
Mason's 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 they deserve through my work," Mason said.
Mason says it's the lipstick that comes in the mail belonging to those that breast cancer swept away that fuel her continued mission.
"Those are always special packages to receive," she said. "These lipsticks belong to women, in a sense, they are a part of their life. I know that they're women whose spirits live on in my work."
It's a network of strong, beautiful women coming together on canvas hoping money raised through Mason's art can help one day find a cure.
"I don't want to leave behind pretty pictures," Mason said. "I want to leave behind impact, I want to help other people."
If you'd like to help Mason continue this important work, you can always send her lipstick along with your loved one's story. More information on where to send your donations can be found here.
If you'd like to purchase prints of Katherine's Lipstick series you can do it on her website www.paintedwithlipstick.com or her Instagram @paintedwithlipstick. Portions of the proceeds go to The Rose in Houston and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.