How Art Saved My Life

Posted 6/23/2008 by smartblackboy in Labels: , , , , ,

Art saved my life.

As a young black male growing up in the DFW area - I had all the statistics against me.

I was keenly aware that I had a better chance of going to jail than of going to college.

I knew that even my all white, all boy, catholic prep school wouldn't be enough to protect me.

Because the kids there were often involved in activities that might get them a slap on the wrist, but would land me in jail.

And then there was these emotions. These raging highs, and lows, and rage, and lunacy, and insecurity - the desperate ideal to feel alive, to do something stupid.

It is so hard to deal with the desire of "proving oneself" when one feels invincible.

It is so easy, almost effortless, to wind up either dead, in jail, or severely disappointed.

So, how did Art save my life?

It was precisely this: whenever I was hurt, whenever I was pained, whenever I was confused, whenever I was angry - I could take whatever negative emotions that plagued my mind and channel them into something beautiful.

The pain could become a poem that made you want to cry - the anger could fuel a passionate brush stroke on the canvas.

Art allowed the raw destructive emotions that so many young black males experience to be turned into something beautiful.

Art is transformative like that.

We see the final product - the great painting, the beautiful song, the amazing poem - and we appreciate it.

However, rarely do we ponder what the artist has had to go through, emotionally, to make such compelling art.

Rarely do we consider that the art we so enjoy might be more than just an instrument of beauty.

Rarely can we imagine that art might be the relic of a saved life.

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