Art has helped me figure out who I am.

Is there something you’ve loved your entire life? That sounds like a big question because it is. Human nature and survival instinct demands that our personality and sense of self evolves with the world around us. However out of all the phases I’ve gone through, one thing I know that has always been true about me is that I love art. I love recreating, creating, and everything around and in-between. In elementary school, that looked like drawing an underwater landscape that got proudly displayed in the hallways. In adulthood it looks like… well, this. Out of all the words people have used to describe me, the only one that has always felt right has been “artist”. My relationship to this identifier continues to grow stronger with every stage in my life and it’s where I go when I lose my sense of self in other pursuits whether academic or professional. I come back to this word because I know it and I live it. I know who I am as an artist and it is exactly who I am as a person – complex, emotional, meticulous, compassionate, beautiful, and always yearning for connection.

Art has given me the tools to manage my emotions and learn how to communicate.

Maybe all of us go through this, but I think when I was younger I was often overwhelmed by my emotions. I don’t think it’s in the parent handbook to teach your child how to manage anger, sadness, grief, or envy. And when you’re a naturally shy and introverted child, these emotions can really wreak some havoc on your heart especially when you hit puberty. When I read my old livejournal blog posts, they’re like… insanely depressing. Like ridiculously melodramatic. But that was my reality! That’s really how I felt in that moment back in the day. This is when I truly found sanctuary and solace in art. My art teachers were sort of like second mothers to me, teaching me how to express myself effectively and manifest my energy into something worth sharing. 

Art has expanded my perspective of the world around me.

Knowing yourself better and being able to express and communicate effectively is a big part of understanding others. Art has been a part of human life ever since human life began. Right? I think I’m right at least. Studying art in the context of history helps us better understand who we are in the context of mankind. It helps us see where we’ve been and what was important to us. Did we value order and geometry or opulence and light? How did we relate to a higher power? Was the individual more or less important than the collective?

Art has given me a way to connect to my community.

Just thinking about my own life currently, art has been one of the most integral pathways to building relationships to others in my local community. It allows people a glimpse into my mind and my heart with just one composition. I’ve been able to meet and understand other creative spirits in a way that transcends where we’re from and what we do because we understand who the other is. Being an artist is like being part of a society that’s not-so-secret. It’s entirely open and welcoming and I couldn’t be luckier or more privileged to be considered a part of it. The best events to attend will always be events centered around art – museums, theatres, music venues – all of it. They lift our spirits beyond the mundane into the transcendent. It’s how we enjoy life and appreciate one another.

Art sets me free.

I think really all of the paragraphs above equal to this one statement. Art sets me free. There’s nothing like the feeling of being totally immersed in a great movie or sitting in the Rothko chapel and wanting to be buried there. It’s simply awe. It makes you feel so small and so large at the same time and at once you can’t contain your emotions but also you have no idea what to say. Those moments are so precious and make me feel so alive. Ever seen the movie Contact? That’s what is coming to mind for me right now.

I had an experience. I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real. I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision of the universe that tells us, undeniably, how tiny and insignificant and how rare and precious we all are. A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves – that we are not, that none of us are alone. I wish I could share that. I wish that everyone, if only for one moment, could feel that awe and humility, and hope. But that continues to be my wish.

Whoever wrote that script is definitely an artist. And yes, I just compared art to meeting an alien life form.

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