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  • Writer's pictureNicole S.

Artwork as a Diary

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much my work has changed since the start of the New Year. This isn’t a coincidence and is more of a reflection of what’s going on inside of me.

Like many 2020 and 2021 were rough—mentally and emotionally. I felt it the most last summer. I was burned out and depressed to the point that I could no longer process words or information. I knew it was bad, but reflecting on it now, I see how severe and how low that time was. I’ve never been so mentally paralyzed before.

Moving into the holiday season after once again pushing myself to a near severe burnout, I had the opportunity to re-examine the path that I was walking. I turned off social media and typical music that I listened to. I started to be more conscious of the habits that I was repeating and the thoughts that I was thinking. Through that process, something seemingly miraculous has happened—I’ve turned a corner.

No, really. I feel it in my blood. I can hear it in my thoughts every morning when I wake up. I can feel it physically in my gut and my chest. I’m more forgiving of myself. I’m allowing myself to breathe and be human again rather than a machine that is supposed to process so much change, information, and rise to the occasion. I’ve switched to cultivating my “worth ethic” instead of my work ethic.

My artwork has turned into a diary of this moment in time. This is surely just a season of this wonderful life journey, but it’s one that I’m embracing because it comes juxtaposed against a time that felt so anxious and insane that every breath these days feels like a release and a blessing. My paintings show this metamorphosis, this healing. I see it in the imagery I’ve been choosing—flowers, butterflies, and women in poses that look more soulful. I see it in the colors that I’ve chosen—brighter and more blues and yellows. Finally I see it in the names that I give my artwork, which are reflections of the thoughts that I’m training my brain to think.

Even my creative process has been getting a revamp as I start to appreciate more and more the texture of life, the contrast that it gives. I find myself drawn to adding more visual and physical texture through a variety of mediums, enjoying the bumps and the crevices. Each piece feels like my literal journey being revealed onto canvas.

All of this to say, I feel much promise for this year and I can’t wait to see how much my art changes because of this moment, this season in time. Art and life are so much about the journey for me, so much about each new experience and new viewpoints and growth. May we all turn a new and wonderful corner this year.

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