As I ran around the house in a flat spin looking for my sketch pad, feelings of pure panic rose in my chest and virtually grabbed at my throat. I was battling to breathe as the tightness in my chest slowly increased. A panic attack was imminent.
I remember leaving it on the coffee table the night before after completing a series of sketches that were to determine whether I qualified for the one and only prestigious art school in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I was now literally freaking out! Where was my sketch pad, my ticket to fly?
Turns out my mother had taken it to show and ask friends for their opinion as to whether she should allow me to audition for the Art School. Let me add that sending your child to art school back in the day was not the normal thing to do. She would breaking the norm.
My angst was replaced by extreme excitement when I received the call from my mother allowing me to audition. I was over the moon with anticipation.
My excitement was duly tested when I shared my news with my current art teacher at the government school. I proudly declared that I was going to audition for the Art School. He proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that I was useless and should quit art, and stop wasting everybody’s time and money.
Imagine for a second, someone who’s position you respect, telling you that you should quit! That potentially heart crushing moment had a strange effect on me, it ignited the desire to prove to him and myself that my love for art is too strong to let go.
The rest is history. My journey in the arts had officially started, and I was all in, boots and all.
My passion for art and personal expression through various mediums grew like wildfire. Yet there was so much polarity between my love of the arts and having to contend with the harsh reality of enduring a compulsory stint in the army for two years. This simply did not resonate with me.
I guess if I had to be honest, some of my work still reflects an emotion that is, anti-control and a deep desire for freedom, peace and truth, my soul truth.
Throughout my life as an artist, whether in one form or the other, I have always remembered a phrase by an unknown genius:
“Inside we are all artists, creating with every breath we take”
There are two moments in art that defy explanation, the first is being immersed in the zone and creating, the other is experiencing the moment with someone else as they immerse themselves into the resultant piece as a fellow artist.
My personal breakthrough moment was the day I impulsively painted a models body with clay. When I saw the photograph appear on screen I remember the flood of emotions as my eyes welled with tears.
This was mine and for me, it was pure. The artist in me was stirred and awakened, I was hooked. I knew then that all the struggle I had experienced in my life had set me up for this moment.
Me, unbound, free.
I currently live and work in New York.