Is it a goal to be an artist, or more of just arriving at a natural state of being? Some say it’s your true nature, you are born as an artist, while others think it’s rather like a calling, but I know people who found pleasure in creating only later in life.
As long as I remember, I always loved drawing. Most of my memories from the nursery are connected to art competitions, I was often late from nap-time because we had to travel to the closest town for the exhibition (imagine an art show full of young children’s work!) so I had to eat my lunch in the kitchen with the teachers. I remember the car rides, and even being interviewed once as a winner – I drew a portrait of my family at Christmas (I totally overused yellow, but our Christmas tree was stunning!).
Later, in the early years of primary school, I still created rather freely – I participated in after-school art classes where I tried different media – painting, sculpting, lino-cutting – to stick with graphite at the end, something I always truly enjoyed. It was really fun to travel with the class to the countryside to draw landscapes, or make sketches of farm animals – our art teacher was someone I really looked up to, and being part of that group gave me confidence that I could use in other aspects of my life.
Then, when I was about 11 years old, my mum was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My sister and I didn’t officially know about it for an other two years as everyone thought we are too young to understand, but the change in the dynamics of our family was clearly sensible for us, children. This disease is extremely cruel and doctors don’t know what causes it exactly – it’s not terminal, but it traps you in a body that has stopped responding to you. This experience at the dawn of young consciousness, seeing my mum losing the ability of walking and speaking, in as fast as 2 years, created a full range of new emotions I’ve never felt before: sadness, anger, guilt. Her condition lasted for a long time – she was trapped in that body for 10 years, unable to communicate.
This experience changed my attitude towards life – I stopped caring about things, including my art classes, and second, I developed a mindset that I’m not good enough. Later, I was bullied in high school, yet, had to be a responsible grown-up at home so it wasn’t a surprise that I became a confused and co-dependent young adult by the time I turned 18. Things started to change when I left home for university and started to figure out what I truly want in life. Things slowly began to shift inside – I switched from studying Advertising Management to Literature and Linguistics (even though marketing just became incredibly popular at the time) and opened more towards writing and self-discovery. Throughout this time, one thing has always followed me: art. Drawing has been an activity that gave me peace and a sense of timelessness – it has made me face my fears and give up control and trust the process. I could use these qualities in all parts of life and since I’ve been creating more on paper, I practice them easier off the sketchbook, too.
About two years ago, not long after my mum passed away, my priorities in life changed. It was a natural process, smooth and crystal clear – materialism changed to meaning, career to consciousness. My awareness has turned even more inward with writing, and at the same time, I’ve been able to step out of my own mind and ego while drawing. I’ve been filtering the world through my eyes and my soul, my experiences and my feelings – with my art, I hope that I can show what I’ve learned and that these feelings are something we probably all share in some degree.
Today, I train myself to know more about techniques, materials and other artists – and besides mastering pencil drawing, I’m also learning how to paint. It’s been incredibly fun and rewarding – every time I sit down with my sketchbook, I learn something new about art, about me, and about life.