Art as Manifestation
I studied art therapy in graduate school. I worked under supervision at a hospital in Queens and a detox and rehab center in Harlem. The first year of study was experiential. I am an artist and writer living with schizoaffective disorder. Art helps me create a new reality, and it helps me heal when life gets too overwhelming. When I make art it makes me feel happy. I always feel like sharing it immediately with society. I hope it makes other people feel good too to look at what I made. I could look at art all day. It is my reason for living.
I normally don't imagine a complete picture in advance. I allow the images to reveal themselves to me. I might paint for an hour or two at a glance, but it feels like it only took a few minutes. Something about the absorption with the materials and the process of making images is so pleasing to me that it speeds up time.
It's almost like time spent in a dream. In a dream the time spent could be days or lightyears, and you could travel all over exploring the world, but the physical time spent dreaming only takes a few minutes. It's mysterious. When I paint, I ask for the spirit of the divine to make it good. The power to change time to change feeling, to transform the energy of something negative into something useful describes the creative process of sublimation. You can tell a lot about a person with the pictures they make.
The themes in my artwork are about ameliorating negativity. I explore this through images of fairies, eclipses, unicorns, and waterfalls. The symbolism that makes itself visible is like trying to decipher a dream. The image teaches me something I didn't realize about myself. Art making helps me to ground my flights of fancy into a physical object that creates a new reality.
It's always helpful in a clinical setting to be able to draw. I did a series of self portraits once when I was hospitalized. Even though I was looking in a mirror as I drew, the images all came out very different. They represented different parts of me. Sometimes the hair seemed to tie my head on to my neck, kind of like an anchor. In another drawing, the patterns on my shirt become like an EKG. In another one all my features became delineated by tears, and by the time I was ready to be released, the portrait looked more realistic and I knew I was ready to be free.
When I went to Oregon I saw fairies. They sprinkled me in fairy mist. The waterfalls hushed onto rivers and trails led up to their sources. The water was clear and cold and that sound of their little voices delighted me. I saw Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Wahkeena Falls. All the water fell and I saw fairies. They made me feel happier. I saw their little legs, and heard their little voices. I painted the waterfalls when I was home and the pretty fairies floating in hearts over a sky. The paintings brought me back to their majesty. Painting the fairies made them feel more alive. The paintings in that series called Fairy Falls became a solo show at The Tigermen Den in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans in 2017.