Art for me started as a way to escape. It had no meaning to it. I couldn't see how it affected me. I started to draw because I hated being invisible. I wanted people to see me. But I was terrified to be seen. Almost always I would get in trouble if I was noticed. So I learned how to escape. I learned that I could be noticed by persuading other people to do what I wanted to do naturally. Usually, my brother was up for the task. He would be like "yes let's get the mattress and take it outside and jump out the window". "yes, Let's go into the neighbors garden climb the tree and eat the berries" Other times it was classmate's, a small suggestion and they were raising their hands and asking the questions.
This both excited me and made me feel more invisible. People were getting in trouble or being praised for my small suggestions. As I got older I slowly realized I deserved to get into trouble or be praised. So I would start to ask question's I thought were stupid. And then retreat back into my protective walls when I heard my peers laughing. But what really got me the attention I craved was my art. I had one teacher make sure I received the art award in grade 1. I asked her once why she believed in me, and she said that I had a lot to offer the world, that I just had to keep trying.
So I tried and tried, and tried. I drew every time I felt the most alone and misunderstood. I drew because I noticed that people started to react to my work. But aside from escaping, I did not connect to my art. I did not understand my low feelings, I did not understand why I felt so much neglect and pain. And then I hit a dry spell. 4 years of 6 paintings and minimal doodles. I began to wonder what was the point? Am I an artist? Why did I want to make art? Did I only make art for the attention and someday soon money?
And the Answer was: "Yes, I only made my art for Attention" what I didn't realize was that call for attention was, in fact, a cry for help. A cry for help that was disguised into beautiful or confusing abstract drawings or paintings. I only wanted someone who really cared deeply enough to look to find my hidden message.
It took me 20 years of living and giving birth to my little one to realize I was trying to get my own attention. I was trying to tell myself that through all the pain, neglect, and discouragement I received in my childhood, I had beautiful and wondrous moments that kept me hungry enough for more.
My Art is to call attention, My Art is to share a story, My Art is for whoever stumbles upon it and finds themselves looking into a mirror. My Art does not belong to me alone.
What does your art or art, in general, do to you or for you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.