Statement written March 3rd, 2013.
Most treatment centers cut you loose after 28 days. That wouldn’t have done it for me. The one I went to (this time around) is a (roughly) 90-day program. I wasn’t ready to leave after 90 days. On my 115th day, I half-heartedly tried to kill myself. Two days later though, things started to fall into place after I had a bit of an epiphany that (probably) comes to other people far earlier in life. It was pretty simple: “I can be whoever I want to be.” In other words, if I want to be honest, all I have to do is tell the truth. If I want to be a good friend, I have to be compassionate and reliable (among other things). That was a huge deal for me. This piece is an extension of that. I have a hard time calling myself an artist, but if I make art, then – shit – that makes me an artist. On the other side of the coin, if I waste my life away at some minimum wage job, doing things that I don’t care about – if I spend my days behind a cash register and my nights in front of a television – that would make me something else. I don’t want to be whatever that is.
The image I drew somewhat unconsciously on an application (to sell art at a street market). I don’t usually re-draw/paint things, but I really liked how joyful that little robot or pile of boxes looks. So I wanted to make it into something more than a scrap of paper. As for the eyes, I use the two crosses for eyes a lot. I’m not a Christian, but I like the symbol of the cross as a balance to the inverted cross that I’ve pretty much always been a fan of. I need balance. For too long, I only embraced the dark side of things. So crosses for eyes are a stand-in for my internal spiritual and moral conflicts. As for the teeth – they’re mine. My teeth aren’t really that bad, but I still struggle with self-image issues so… I don’t know. This is one way that I guess I try and deal with that.
The question, “What did you do today?,” Well, I painted this. And now I’m setting up a webstore because if I really want to make a living with my artwork, I should probably take steps to make that happen.
This piece is with one of my counselors from Tranquil Shores, Julie. She does the expressive art therapy group. Without her, I probably never would have started drawing or painting and I don’t know where I’d be today or who I’d be today.
The only bad part of moving to Jacksonville was moving further away from Tranquil Shores. I miss everyone.
Signed, limited edition (#/50) 12×15½” prints are available in my webstore. Each print is packaged in a sealed Crystal Clear acid/lignin-free plastic archival sleeve, with a heavy backing board, and a single sheet artist’s statement on the reverse. Shipping and handling is free.
The original painting is no longer available (I gave it to my art therapy counselor). If you’d like to see it, just develop a serious substance abuse problem, check yourself into treatment at Tranquil Shores, and peek inside her office.