This I Believe

Erik - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that my escape from the world is making artwork. I feel that making art can help one with problems like stress and depression. During my college career there have been times where I would experience intense depression. Whenever I felt like this I noticed I would spend a lot of time on creative pursuits such as drawing, painting and printmaking. I can think of a few reasons why I would find these things relaxing.

Regardless of what you are working on, you place your focus on your work, not on troubles in your life. Whenever someone would notice the amount of time I was working on projects that had nothing to do with my major, and they asked why I put in the time and effort, I would often say something along the lines of “these studios are how I stay sane.”

Another reason is that in art you are able to express yourself. You are able to share your thoughts and feelings. Also this allows you to think about your problems in a way that you can try and understand them. One screenprint where I explored my emotions is titled “Life is a Roller Coaster.” The image was someone on a roller coaster with the word “Life” on the front of the car. In this, I was expressing the feeling that I had little control over my life. When I gave a copy of the print to my mom she later asked, “Is the car going down the hill because you are depressed?” While I didn’t design that intentionally, I couldn’t bring myself to say she might have been right.

There is also the desire to learn something new and trying to excel at it. Constantly I would try new styles and process in my works, just to see how it turned out. Also I found myself working for long periods of time, even when I could have been doing something else. On a few occasions one semester I would spend parts of my Friday evening working on printmaking projects (that weren’t immediately due), a time that I imagine other students might be doing other relaxing activities. Sometimes I would negatively think to myself “If I’m not going enjoy college, I might as well focus on the work.”

I think anyone that has ever made some sort of artwork would agree that it is very rewarding to create a piece of work that others, as well as yourself can enjoy. The creative process is like a journey in your mind, and a piece of artwork is the record for all to see.

I know everyone has an escape for their troubles. Some people have books, maybe music, or even television. A few lucky people have friends that will support them. Desperate people chose to take out their pain with alcohol or drugs. In my case, give me canvas and paint, or a pencil and some paper, and maybe I’ll be alright.