October 25, 2023

From Clinical Trials to Canvas: Celebrating the Artistry of Risa Takatsu


Today on International Artist’s Day, we are honored to celebrate the remarkable talent and dedication of our Clinical Research Associate (CRA), Risa Takatsu. Risa’s passion for art transcends the canvas, infusing her work as a CRA with a unique blend of creativity, innovation, and meticulous attention to detail.

In a field that is often seen as being data-driven and analytical, Risa’s artistic sensibility brings a welcome dose of humanism and empathy. She is able to see the bigger picture and understand the impact that clinical research has on people’s lives.

For example, Risa’s creativity comes into play in her ability to think outside the box and find new ways to approach problems. She is not afraid to challenge the status quo and is always looking for ways to improve the way things are done.

Risa’s dedication to her work is evident in everything she does. She is a valuable asset to our team and we are grateful for her contributions.

We sat down with Risa Takatsu and learned that her ability to seamlessly blend art and science demonstrates that creativity and logic are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary forces that can drive progress and innovation.

Q: What drew you to art? How did it start?

Risa: Since I was young, I’ve known I had a deep interest in art. I remember begging my mom to buy me a box of 120 Crayola crayons, which to my 7-year-old self, was a gateway to a world of endless possibilities. I’d lose myself in coloring books for hours and curating cute stickers from my sticker book. As I grew older, my fascination with art took me on a journey through different mediums – from bold oil pastels for a poster-making contest to gentle watercolors, to vibrant acrylics and gouache for my self-expression and now with the digital age, I found a new canvas in pixels on a screen to nurture my passion for design and illustrations. Over the years, it has become a form of self-discovery and a means of connecting with others through the universal language of visuals.

Q: What is the creative process behind your illustrations?

Risa: It starts from wherever I get a spark of inspiration — a picture, something I saw during a walk, or even from a simple conversation. Once the idea takes hold, I make a sketch and frequently choose a color palette I want to work with. I will say, music is also a big thing for me when making art. I find that listening to music helps set the energy and propels me into the creative flow.

Q: How do you find the parallels between your work as a clinical research associate (CRA) and your art practice?

Risa: In both my role as a clinical research associate and as an artist, attention to detail is crucial, whether I’m reviewing Source Documents and site files or adding tiny details that will make the illustration come to life. Patience is also key for both, from the lengthy study processes of a trial and meticulous documentation to perfecting strokes and trusting the art process. Lastly, both involve connecting with people, either in a scientific or emotional sense. I believe there’s more in common between these two areas than one might think.


Q: In what ways does your work as a CRA influence your art, and vice versa?

Risa: As an artist, creativity and thinking outside the box have proven to be valuable assets to my role as a CRA. Art has taught me to approach challenges with different perspectives and innovative solutions that may not be immediately apparent. As a CRA, the ability to think critically and problem-solve allowed me to find creative solutions and tackle artistic challenges with logic to help me piece together the elements that bring my vision to life. 



Risa’s illustrations were used in Jetlax’s CNS Pharmacology Cheat Sheet for the Philippines.
Download the book here.

Q: What are some of the challenges and rewards of being a science major who is also passionate about art?

Risa: At the top of my head, a challenge I feel that is very common between these two worlds is that sometimes it can feel disconnected, especially because of societal misconceptions that you can only have one or the other, or that it can’t exist at the same time. It can also be really challenging to excel in both areas, as they often demand different kinds of focus and dedication. On the rewarding side, being a science major who loves art has provided me with a diverse skill set that will be valuable for whichever endeavor I pursue. The emotional balance that art provides is also something that I personally think you cannot get from other avenues. Ultimately, I treat science and art as colors in my painting palette that I can mix and match as I pursue my passions.

Risa’s artistry is evident in her contributions to Pinnacle 2023, PiVOT’s prestigious event honoring Clinical Trial Principal Investigators. Risa’s design of the logo and event look reflects her keen eye for aesthetics and her ability to convey complex concepts through captivating visuals.

Note: This post is part of the #WeArePiVOTAL Campaign which showcases the incredible individuals at PiVOT and their inspiring pursuits beyond the Clinical Research Industry. At PiVOT, we strongly believe in work-life balance, and we encourage our employees to pursue their passions outside of work.

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