I have never really thought of myself as an artist. I was an athlete, or at least that is how I had always defined myself. I also use to define myself as a left brained person. I was good at math and liked things that had patterns and reason. Now I am about as right brained as possible. I hate math and science and all things logical and factual. Life is too beautiful to be explained in formulas. That is why I love things like art and music, because they capture the beautiful things in life like love and hope, and try to make sense of it in a way that our souls can understand.
When I was little, I loved coloring with my older sister Sarah. She would color these beautiful pictures all perfectly shaded, and well I was lucky to at least color in the lines. I remember wishing that I could color as beautifully as Sarah. Then there was my brother Luke, who I am pretty sure came out of the womb sketching a picture. I can’t draw to save my life; I can’t even properly doodle when I am bored in class. But my brother Luke, he could just look at a something and ten minutes later have it sketched perfectly. My point is that for most of my life I just assumed that I was naturally unartistic, until I picked up a paint brush my junior year of highschool.
My highschool art teacher is one of those people that I can point to and know that I would not be who I am today had I not known him. He saw the artist in me that I didn’t even know existed. He was an odd but happy Irish man who would often walk around class singing, “line, shape, form, color, texture, value.” What I liked most about him was that he didn’t so much teach us art as he did guide us to finding our own art. We had free reign to create whatever we wanted with whatever medium we wanted. After failing at drawing, pastels, pottery, and pretty much everything else; I finally picked up a paint brush. I first tried painting this beautiful picture of a sunset over a lake. The sunset part was fun and easy. I have always had an eye for colors, so I was a natural at mixing and blending different colors into a beautiful sunset. However, the lake was a different story. The reflections required enough drawing that I eventually just got frustrated and gave up.
That is when I decided to start painting abstract, because you can suck at drawing and still paint abstract. I spent many meticulous hours on my first painting. I was a perfectionist who was still learning how to draw and paint, so as you can imagine I had to do quite a few parts several times. But I finally finished it and I really liked how it turned out. Here it is:
Not to bad for a newbie if I do say so myself. Slightly more encouraged, I decided to tackle more paintings. I attempted to make these next few paintings more of my own, and I failed at art once again. Well they weren’t awful just not exactly what I was hoping for.
Here is an example. Please don’t give me any sympathy compliments, I have accepted the that it is not my best work. I didn’t care though, because by this time I had fallen in love with painting. I loved having the chance to put the world on hold and let part of my soul escape through the tip of my brush. I normally find the most inspiration to paint when I am at the darkest points in my life. I suppose that is why most of my paintings are more so haunting than happy. I am a regular tortured artist. Haha just kidding I am not, because for me painting is healing. Painting has a way of expressing what I am going through in a way that words cannot. Art has a way of doing that to us. It takes the awful complicated crap in life and it turns it into something that is beautiful and that makes sense. That is one reason why I never like to explain my art to people. I cannot tell you what art should mean to you, but I can promise you what it means to me is not the same as what it means for you. We see what we need to see, that is beauty of art.
One thing that has been interesting for me to learn with starting SoHo, is the amount of artists that have responded to the issue of sex trafficking. I have stumbled across musicians, dancers, cinematographers, and the works. And every single one of them are extremely passionate about using their art to raise awareness. I like to think the reason for this is that sex trafficking is a heavy, heart wrenching issue that many of us cannot even begin to process. Maybe art and music is the only way that we can think to make sense of it. I know that is how it is for me. Words do not seem adequate to explain the way my heart breaks as I read stories of women who have been locked in cages and forced to service 100 men a day. It is not even something that I can mentally process. So that is why I paint. I paint so that it becomes an issue that I handle, and I paint so that it becomes an issue that others can understand. Which is why it is my dream to someday expand SoHo to many different artists. More on that later 😉 For now I just want to share with you the story of how I fell in love with painting, in hopes that you too can allow art to explain the beautiful mysteries of your soul.