The Transformative Power of Artmaking

When I make art, I go on a deep journey of the mind, it’s almost as if I am going through my stories. Something that might not be apparent is just what depicting emotions is like if you’ve never made art like this before. I go through every emotion the characters go through. If I’m depicting sadness or anguish, I feel the very same emotions. And what’s recorded on the canvas is an experience I’m actually having myself. That’s why Athena, the character, means so much to me. After a long war, it doesn’t even specify how long she’s been in the midst of conflict, she finally releases the stress when she realizes the war had ended. Though when making the comic I didn’t show visual signs of it, actually I’m crying right now, I went through every emotion she goes through, when she collapses, I collapse, and when she gets up to go about her day, it’s exactly as if I felt it. That’s why the nights have been so difficult for the last two weeks. I made artwork constantly. It really allowed me to go through a process of transformation. I don’t get a lot of feedback about my work, I only know what I know from my own experiences, but this is what makes today such a hard, yet hopeful day for me. I realized just how much I’ve been through in the last two and a half years. When I drew the last page I almost broke down, and that’s why it means so much to me as an artist that viewers understand what it’s like to make these stories.

A lot of people think this work is about people I know. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The truth is that when I make art I invite people along in these journeys, and there is so much more I can say with them than if I actually spoke or wrote them out. It took a lot of study to get to the point of being able to draw like this. Years of practice, and I’m still learning. But after the last week of work, through which I found so much strength within me, I’m really taking a break and reading. I’ve started around 10 books of various cultures, but none of them describe what the day-to-day life of being alive feels like. Even the poetry I read, while beautiful, was moralistic or emotionally vacant, and that’s where what I am making comes in. It’s not perfect yet, I have a lot to draw and make, and opposed to writing stories, these are emotional journeys I record for you. I hope they are received the same way, I think that’s why I get so concerned when people think they belong to someone else. It’s as if someone tried to steal your soul, and that’s impossible. If you look at my work, you’ll see what one human experience is like, and if it resonates, that’s beautiful, that’s my intention, but some things just take a lot out of me. That’s what the last page before I ran out of ink and needed to pause did for me. I’m in a state of release.

If you. ever get into art making, the pursuit of technical achievement will let you explore just what physical embodiment is like, even if it’s abstracted, and that’s beautiful. I am so grateful I’ve had the experience to share these journeys with you. If you ever want to get to know me read the stories. A record of my emotional journey is there, and I hope you take it into your heart and feel what my characters feel. Empathy is the alchemy of the union between heart and mind, knowing that the two are never separate, just like all of us are inseparable from each other, no matter what may fall. I’m so grateful that I’ve had the time to work on these stories in the last year, I’ve made three so far in completion, and hope for many more over the years. But for now, some rest. This week has been a long journey, and even amidst all this, I found a sense of home.

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