I have a confession. I didn’t do very well in Art College. I was told that my work wasn’t deep enough, literally because it wasn’t dark. What they didn’t know was that my life was so dark at that time. I was in a situation where my spirit was being crushed. I forgive him now, and I honestly think he probably didn’t understand what he was doing to me at the time. But he was killing me from the inside out. And to be fair, he wasn’t the first. I had so many times, over and over been more than misunderstood. I had been misused, mistreated and wasted. I don’t know that at that point in my life I had ever really felt that anyone understood who I was, but I had a clue. I wanted to be free. So I expressed in it my art.
I remember one project in particular where I had my friends and family climb trees and I photographed them. The critique was that, while my composition and exposure were right on, the content lacked. When I was a child I climbed tress. That’s where I felt the most free. I have always loved adventure and as much of an extrovert as I am I love solitude. Canoes, trees, and the darkroom- they are my happy places. (The darkroom was what got me into photography in the first place. It was a great escape.) So when my life was full of darkness and despair and the weight of someone else’s misery, I looked for a safe place and I pushed everyone I knew to go there. And it represented what was at the depth of my soul. Joy. Somewhere under there was a Joy that could never be stolen from me. So, I did dig deep. So deep that even through the garbage I was living in, I found Freedom.
My life is so overwhelmingly full now. I don’t even want to elaborate because I could never describe what I have in a way that could shine any kind of light on the true abundance of my life. And when I dig deep I still find Joy. The good thing is, it rises to the surface too. I have my dark day, and they are heavy, and in my opinion, unwarranted, but they come just the same. I wait, patiently, and they pass. And my Light shines again.
If my art seems trivial, light, …even shallow… it’s because you’ve been fed a lie. Despair is not the core of who we are. If that’s all you have found, then you have to dig deeper. That’s my opinion.
If you want to read about some of my art, the previous post talks about some of my newest work.