I still find myself actually experiencing physical pain associated with both obvious and subtle rejections. It hits me at the center of my torso, radiating from somewhere between my internal organs and my skin. When it strikes, it's a terrifying feeling that I can't seem to shake no matter how many times I tell myself that I shouldn't care what he or she thinks.
My guest today, artist Angelique Price, seems to accepts who she is with no apologies. In contrast, it seems like I've been apologizing my entire life. I suppose I know when it all started. As early as I can remember, I tried to do certain things better because no matter how hard I worked at it, I couldn't achieve the outcomes I longed for, one of which was to somehow ease the pain of my afflicted mother, my quiet father, and my brother who had a learning disability at a time when bullies and teasers went unchecked. I always felt that I held the hope of my family, and if I could somehow decipher the riddle of how to share it, we would all survive.
No one really survived. No matter how much I smiled, how much I helped around the house, how much affection I showed my mother, how many good grades I made, how clean I kept my room, how beautiful I grew, how pleasant I remained, how organized I was, how many times I took up for my older brother in the school yard, how many veggies I ate or how high I jumped ... I failed.
Angelique was a troubled as well; she became a "cutter." When I was younger, I'd never heard of cutting. Perhaps it's for the best. Instead, I sliced myself up via other means. I spent quite a few years desperately racing down avenues leading to self-inflicted pain and suffering.
The paths we take in life are fascinating. Like Angelique, I was also a pre-med student in college. Whereas she veered off into art, I barrelled through and earned my degree in Biology, despite my creative dreams. Our paths recently crossed when our art was exhibited together at a show in New York City. We both continue to move toward a dream we've stoked for years.
This week, another friend of mine mentioned how she's getting older and realizing that certain things in life haven't turned out the way she'd hoped. She wonders if it's okay that she's given up, considering that time is getting shorter and possibilities less possible. With this on my mind, I happened to hear the song, I Dreamed a Dream.
Although I'd heard it before, I'd never fully focused on the lyrics. When it began, I thought of my friend's dying dreams as well as some of mine. I waited for what would surely be an uplifting ending, but there was none. I was left with the empty realization that dreams can die; sometimes life kills them.
I can't do anything about that miserable truth. What I can do is make sure that I always have some kind of dream brewing. As a child, my deepest desire was to be part of a happy family; as a teen my dream was to be loved; as a college student I longed to understand what true happiness and real love actually felt like; as a young adult, I dreamed of finding positive avenues to express my emotions and the ideas they bring.
Angelique seems to have found such avenues for herself. Like me, she no longer needs to cut herself away.
Art soothes our pain. Art "slays the tigers that come at night, with their voices soft as thunder, as they tear our hope apart, and turn our dream to shame." Art grabs that pain in my gut and flings it into the never ending race of life, filled with beauty and complexity. It leaves me satisfied like nothing else. It pulls beauty out of shame, joy out of sorrow, meaning from corruption, and love from loneliness.
What's your story (in a nutshell)? How long did it take to establish yourself as an artist? Was the journey on a straight or twisted path? Are you surprised by your success?
Wow, my story in a nutshell ... that's tough. There is so much to tell. My childhood was traumatic causing me to be a disturbed and unhappy person throughout half of my life. I had no way of expressing myself except for when I would find a piece of paper and a pencil. I would usually draw an imaginary portrait and she would be crying. I was also a "cutter" and that would relieve my pain as well. I had planned on becoming a psychiatrist because I felt that the entire industry needed something new. After being treated like a number in a psychiatric hospital, I felt that the modern methods were not working and wanted to be a part of changing that. Graduating from high school with a 3.6 GPA, I was given a scholarship to Belmont University for Pre-Med. On the first day of class, I heard my inner voice tell me to change my major to fine art. I listened. I have been a fine artist ever since.
Ironically, I am also studying to be a Chord Therapist which is a therapy created by Dr. Roni Angel. It reprograms our cells to release what no longer serves us and replaces what does serve us. I have been a part of the therapy for 10 years and am a much healthier person because of it.
My art has also contributed to me becoming healthier. I pour myself into my work, expressing whatever it is I need to express. Sometimes I release, sometimes I transform myself with an idea, and sometimes I work with an idea to help me create that in my life.
I don't know that my journey has been straight or twisted. It has just been my journey. I have a very strong work ethic when it comes to my art. I am constantly creating. Six years ago, I developed a method of drawing with art markers that is completely original in its style. This has propelled my career and given me a lot of recognition. I still feel that I am establishing myself because I am not yet at the level of success that is my goal. I am very driven, intelligent and talented, so I have no doubt about where I am headed. I am also not surprised by the success that I have achieved. I have worked very hard for 15 years to be in the place I am now. I am very grateful though. Art is my heart. It makes my world full and alive and it keeps me inspired.
With regard to your current creative focus, was there an "ah-ha" moment you can tell us about?
Yes, the first "ah-ha" moment was when I discovered what I could do with art markers. I had never seen anything like it before. I knew I had found my medium. I am skilled with oils, acrylics, watercolors and clay, but my medium chose me. I never would have guessed it would be markers. As artists, we have to discover within us the originality we behold. My originality oozes onto paper with markers.
For you, is art more about creation or expression? It could be both, but does one dominate with regard to your need/urge/desire to be an artist and why?
My art is equally about expression and creation. It completely depends on my message and where I am in my life at that particular moment.
Many artist focus on one particular subject or style. How important is this for career development? Have you ever grown tired of painting the same types of things, and if so, can you tell us about it?
I do not follow the rules of the art world. I create whatever moves me. Thankfully, I am most moved by people so the majority of my work is portraiture of some kind. I am very passionate about nude women. Our society has made a little tiny box for beauty. It is my greatest desire to smash that box. I want women to see that they are beautiful exactly as they are. There is no box. Beauty is vast.
Do you believe some of the various attributes related to being highly creative have caused you aberrations in life, helped you deal with life's aberrations, or both?
Definitely both. Being highly creative can be debilitating and empowering. It depends on the day.
During difficult or challenging times in your life, does creating art sooth or inspire you? Is it therapeutic in any way?
It is always therapeutic as I discussed earlier. Creating always soothes and inspires me.
Have you ever had to deal with people in your life failing to understand your creative personality, interests, or drive?
Oh yes, I have had many people misunderstand me. I simply explain to them the truth about me, and they can take it or leave it. It's my life.
Have you developed a specific creative process that enables you to meet your artistic goals? If so, can you tell us about it. Where do most of your ideas come from?
My ideas come from life in general. I am often inspired by certain women and need to draw them. I am constantly inspired by my son and my husband. My son is so genuine and talented. My husband's photography is what I use to work from. We are a true team. I love digging into myself as well which is why I do so many self portraits. The other part of success in art is the business aspect. It is imperative to have an intriguing biography and artist statement. It is also important to document exhibitions, charities, publications and awards. Buyers in the art world want to know about these things. I represent myself meaning I make all of the calls and write to the galleries etc. It's a full plate. I also sell a lot of prints and I design my own t-shirts. My site for that is ELIQ .
What do you believe places an artist apart from his or her peers? So many are highly talented, but what makes one stand out as truly gifted?
Integrity and style. If an artist has no integrity, his or her art will not move anyone. If an artist does not have their own unique style, they will be lost in the crowd. Learn the rules and then break them. After that is established, work your ass off at marketing your work. You have to have the determination to do it yourself.
What is your primary motto or mantra in life? Why is this important to you?
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Gandhi said that. To me, it means that I must do what is in my heart and be proud but always remember that I am just a speck as well. Humanity is equal in all ways. No one is better than anyone else. And while our actions may seem futile, they are still important. But they are not so important that we should ever become self absorbed or self righteous.
Learn more about Angelique and her art at her various websites