In part two I’d like to explore a transformation that has long been in the works but it has not been until now that I have learned to value it. Back in my undergrad years I started going to open mic nights at a local bar to recite my poetry. At first I was deadly afraid of doing it because to me, my poetry was much more than just pretty words that rhymed together. My poetry was my deepest feelings and just reciting it in front of people made me feel naked and vulnerable. However, I had heard from a fellow poet that words that are not recited are dead words; and that revved me up to give this new task a go.
The first night I recited my fear was paramount. I stuttered, I shook and I got to recite. However, that one practiced poem I gave did not feel like me. It felt like those dead words my friend was talking about. So in a couple of minutes, and after two sangrias, I had written a poem about how I really felt. I got up again, talked loud and proud into that old microphone and gave those people something to remember me for. Ever since that moment I became known to others for my word-art and I became known to myself for my courage.
That one night sent a whole lot of dreams in motion for me. No longer afraid to show my artistic abilities I started searching for my one true calling. I did poetry, I did paintings, I did portraits and I did essays. Nothing was too far from my reach. I stretched all my artistic energy, every single particle that had been locked up in my mind found its way on paper and canvas. I knew not fear as I became a Jack of all trades.
While I gained strength in other artistic areas I lost strength in others. I became more prone to doing portraits of people whilst I forgot how to rhyme. Hence, what propelled me to be more artistic was taken away from me. Unable to write poetry, I stopped going to the open mics. My power of words turned into images, and what was one tangible and planned now became metaphors and raw energy. I felt deprived of my main source of joy and in the long run I lost the interest in portrait-making, drawing and painting. I knew not art and it did not know me.
For the longest time I felt into moratorium and could not find a way to get out. Yet, in all that stillness I felt something crawling in my skin. I felt an itch to create but everything I tried did not fit. I let go of the rehearsed words and known emotions, walked into a world of imagery and explored what was there. Finally, it all came together and this blog came to life. I let go of my pretense to make poetry and focused on prose instead; an idea I despised but in the end when everything else failed I turned to it. Through this new creation period, as you guys have read, I have found a way to say what my poetry couldn’t. I was able to give details and accentuations to things that could not be drawn. Hence, I had adopted a new way of art without knowing it. Thus, as I slowly untangled the narrative of my life I was able to go back to the more traditional ways of art. Poetry came back to me. Portrait making had a new purpose. And painting would soon find its way into my life, in the best way possible.
Being given these specific situations in my life gave me the base for my future as an artist. At the moment, while the process was happening I had no way of valuing it but now that I own Paradise Inks, I see the things I missed along the way. The open mic taught me that my art has value, no matter what it is. That my gift of creation will be admired by those who feel it, not by those who see it. My blog has taught me that there will be others who can do the same thing I can, but no one will ever do it like me. That my art has a specific story to tell and that those who relate will enjoy it the most. And my alcohol ink paintings taught me that as long as there is a passion, there will be a buyer. What I create is not for me but for those who seek that image that defines a feeling or a memory which they do not want to forget.
Hence, I have transcended from seeking fame and recognition to giving the gift or art, or feeling and of unity. My art can be created through me but it is not about me. It is my gift but it is not mine to keep. It is for me to share with the world, to share it with those who need it the most. And maybe one day, others will do the same with their gift onto me; and through this we’ll create unity and community.
Thus I invite you to be part of this process. I invite you to look back at your past and focus only on your growth. I want you to detail the steps that have taken you from nothing, from fear and doubt into a more secure, united and hopeful life. I want you to reap the satisfaction, the knowledge and insight of your work. And do not worry if you’re not there yet; I promise you your time will come. I want you to asses where you are and hold that in your mind, look at yourself and realize that all that which you have done was all you; it was all your strength and hard work. And be proud, no matter where you are in your growth because you made it, maybe not the whole way but you made it; and that is always worth admiring. Keep up the good work.
Signing off, TWS