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.
Sitting down to write this, I realized the for all the art I’ve taken in over the course of my life… I still feel challenged when expressing my thoughts or feelings about it. Food is easy, style is logical, but art – perhaps because it’s what I feel most deeply about – doesn’t translate to words. So while I’d love to say to you that I can help you navigate the arts scene in Atlanta, it’s probably the last thing I’d be able to help you with.
It took me way too long to find the time to take the drive to see Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden. And of course I ended up forgetting my real camera, so please enjoy these photos from my crappy old phone (lost my iPhone recently). It’s the best I could do, but really nothing can do this justice. Or really, any art justice.
Art HAS to be experienced in real life. Digital reproduction will never be the same as seeing something in front of you.
Nothing really beats a little history to get you inspired. We had less than 24 hours to spend in Chicago, but the Art Institute was a must-see. We covered as much ground as we could in one afternoon, but I wish I could go back and give it the time it deserves. Every corner you turned, there was even more awe to be had. I’m so grateful that AIC allows you to take pictures, so I can always remember how beautiful the light was that day.
Little did I know that St. Louis would have some great art in store for me. It truly shows that all it takes is a few donors who truly appreciate art to transform the visual landscape of a city. Atlanta, please take note. Here are pictures from our visits to The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, The St. Louis Museum of Art, and Citygarden (a downtown sculpture park). We also visited the Contemporary, but I failed to take pictures there. However, what I did manage to capture was pretty magnificent…