Â As much as going to art school and living in New York City has blessed me with a community to be an artist&writer, the endless struggle to pay for existence with my work became a beast gnawing at my back. This beast numbed me to the agony of carrying a thousand untold stories inside of me. Iâm sad to admit that I really really forgot what brought me into the drawing desk in the first place. When I was ten years old I dreamed nothing more than to unapologetically paint huge murals. When I was fifteen, I felt the weight of all the worlds transience and violence pass through the vessel of my body and then pierce the body of the Earth. I felt my purpose in life was to envision greater possibilities toward justice in the only tool I knew how: the English language and a paintbrush.
As I grew older and independent / spent this year working mostly on freelance commissions and paying NYC rent, I left these memories far behind. It took incredible love and witness from another friend to bring me back to these memories. He said to me:Â “if there is a love and fire inside you; allow yourself to feel and express it. The most violent thing that this society can do is fashion a world that convinces you that you are not safe to express your love.”
And those words were the greatest gift that shook my world up and back to where I was when I was 10, and 15 and believed in that love so much. The dust is still adrift. I donât know if it will ever settle. But I do know: Love and work is interchangeable. Our love continues in the hours alone and apart hunched over the studio; sketching the outlines of justice that I dream for the world to one day be. Our love continues even if the collective transfiguration into a decolonized world never comes in this century.
Yes there is a storm inside me. I know now it is not a problem or an impracticality. I will allow my body to downpour over this civilization and quietly alter the light of the entire sky. In this transient time on Earth and in the curvature of our tired bodies, our art and love is all we will ever have. Never forget that.
See full post here: jess x chen2014-10-24.