Mixed Media and Acrylic (2014)
Being a self-taught artist, the idea of drawing the human body always has intimidated me. However, I used figures in my work over and over again throughout the years in order to process what I was feeling after nearly thirty life- and body-altering surgeries. After every surgery, I would wake up with a new anatomy–a bag here, no belly button here, this missing, that added. It was very dissociating and made me feel like an alien to myself. I drew the figure to find wholeness with my body again, to accept it, to show the different “selves” of me, to love it as my own. Now, I am very fascinated with the figure and how it relates to the world, nature, and the flesh. Seeing my “figures” look more and more body-like reassures me–it lets me know that I am starting to feel human, starting to accept my body for what it has been through, and call it my own.
As a former patient, I know the healing power of art. Creativity was my road map where there was none, my anchor when times felt uncertain, my lifeline back to myself, and an empowering tool to feel as though I were co-creating my circumstances along with the universe.
My working process is intuitive and instinctive. Visual art comes naturally to me, as an effective way to express myself after surviving a coma and 27 surgeries. I tend to work with a lot of layering and mixed media materials–anything from tissue paper to fabric, buttons, papers, or toilet paper–whatever I found in hospitals as I recovered. I love playing with textures, colors and shapes and allowing them to transform sadness, joy, and gratitude.
Most importantly, I paint whatever I feel from the heart. I love experimenting with acrylics, painting my world of trees, birds, flight, girls dancing, and tear drops. I found art accidentally on my way to healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and I have learned that it is one of the most rewarding, forgiving, beautiful ways to find my way through the darkness and into the light.
Creativity is an essential mindset. Painting allowed me to express things that were too painful, complicated and overwhelming for words. Good feelings overwhelmed the bad because I could control the euphoric, fantastic world portrayed on my canvases with what my subconscious chose to create. Now, I’ve taken the lessons I’ve learned from my canvases and have applied them to everyday life.