Sometimes pain can cripple you. Sometimes you can rise above it and learn something from it. Sometimes you can push yourself beyond the pain and achieve a new perspective. Pain is what keeps us surviving.
We'll all felt some degree of pain in our lifetimes, both physical and emotional: some more than others. We can all say that pain has somehow influenced us throughout our lives, it is impossible to say it has not.
As an artist I have always felt that it is my duty to either delve into the depths of my own soul or to try and enlighten others as to ideas that they should be contemplating. Art can be a fantastic tool for teaching as well as reflecting.
I have always thought very deeply about my pieces, and tend to illustrate my themes in a variety of ways, but mostly I tend to change the black/white/grey-levels (chiaroscuro for those 'in the know') to express differing feelings or emotions or characteristics.
Recently my artwork has become a lot harder to do due to medical complications, and so hence the meaning behind each piece is now becoming greater, and the effort behind them is that much more intense. I have been visiting various doctors and specialists to try and find out what is wrong with me, and so far have only come up with half-truths. Initially they said I had Guillain–Barré syndrome, then they said that I might have gout, then they said I might have an Advanced case of Primary Raynaud's Phenomenon.. Now they are leaning towards Chocot-Marie-Tooth Type 2 - which is a genetic disorder. Trip to neurologist is coming soon (October 2013), So I'm hoping that something more definitive will come out of it.
When my symptoms were at their worst(four years ago), I could barely hold a pencil between my fingers without crying, let-alone type out an artist summary such as this. I could barely walk, and the walking I did do was so painful that I struggled just to make it to the bathroom. I even had to have other people cut up my food for me, because the edges of the cutlery felt like razor-blades to me.
...So things have improved since then, a LOT. I have tried various medications to help my symptoms, but am now back to taking no pills whatsoever until another formal diagnosis has happened.
Stopping my consumption of all caffeine certainly helped diminish the effects of irregular circulation, but it's not a permanent fix, nor is it an overall fix.
Some days are good and I feel perfectly fine apart from some minor pains in my fingers.. Others are so terrible that it's difficult to even move from a bed, or do anything that involves any kind of physical touch.
After four years of pain, I appreciate the time I had to create art over the years that preceded my illness, and try my best to try manage a normal life. I have never been the recipient of any benefits, and have always tried to just work my way through things; both emotionally and physically.
I've spent a long time trying to get a diagnosis for something that can't be seen, and it is a very frustrating thing to have to do when the symptoms are so wide-ranging and varied as they could fall under one of many different medical classifications.
My art is inspired by the artists who inspired me as a child: Chuck Close, Salvador Dali, Bridget Riley and Monet. I take from each of them a small piece of inspiration and try to create something new from their teachings.