Kokocinski started drawing at age 3, when her uncle - also an artist - gave her a piece of charcoal. She used it to create her first drawing: a simple, square house with a triangle roof. Even in its simplicity, and at such a young age, her uncle knew she had talent because of the way she managed the proportion.
Kokocinski continued to develop her artistic skills through drawing, watercolor and oil painting, and eventually became a professional photographer. However, nursing remains her first passion.
"For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse," Kokocinski says. "Art is just something I do as a stress release, something fun."
Kokocinski makes time to draw one small illustration every day. She carries a sketchbook and markers everywhere she goes, so that she can draw whenever the moment is right. Her pieces can be found throughout Sharp Coronado Hospital and in the homes of many of the patients she's cared for throughout the years. All of her works are gifts, given away just to make people's days a bit brighter.
"Creating art makes people smile, and at the end of the day that's all you can hope for," Kokocinski says.
Although Kokocinski primarily draws inspiration from architecture and Southern California landscapes, including the plein air style, she also takes requests.
Deena O'Shea, director of acute, critical and peri-operative services, has made requests before. Kokocinski's art hangs up in her office and the hallways of her home.
"Joan's art captures the feel and lifestyle of my favorite places in San Diego through her deliberate use of accent color and contemporary interpretation of focus," O'Shea says. "It transports you to being there with an expectation of having fun, while providing a glimpse of the culture."