Artists are tortured souls. Some of the great artists, past or present, have gone thru extreme personal tragedies and emotional struggles that define their character. It is my belief that great art comes from pain. If you research John Milton (Paradise Lost), Petrarch (Il Canzoniere), Van Gogh, Beethovan, and countless others, the same pattern emerges. Some tragedy, either in childhood or later in life, makes these artists - abnormal or let's say -- Great!
Suffering shapes and molds the way artists perceive everything around them. That character development, for good or bad, is what gives the rest of us - ART. I do not claim that great art only comes from suffering. Only that art without suffering is likely to be mediocre. It is easy to retrospect and talk about someone's motivations and struggles. It is not easy to talk about your own. This series aims to capture some of the visitors & emerging creative artists that visited the exhibits during Photoville LA 2019 at the Annenberg Space for Photography (@annenbergspace) and the struggles they face and their motivation - in their own words.
I also had the opportunity to meet a great visual storyteller, photographer Bil Brown (@bilbrown) and learn how he captures the "emotions" in his work. His unique perspective has changed mine.
"God rewardeth the sufferer in proportion to his Pain."
- Sir Thomas More, 1553 AD
"I usually quit a job after six months from not being able to create my own work full time."
- Amber Aisha (Photographer)
"No matter what I decide logically in my brain, music will always come back to me. I couldn't stop writing songs [even] if I tried."
- Hannah Bowers, Singer & Songwriter
"No matter what my internal or external struggle was, I have a certain privilege to have that struggle resolved. I easily can switch gears at any point to make my life easier."
- Bil Brown (Photographer)
"I live for my art and creativity, without it my life is dull with no purpose. I will always pursue my art regardless of the income. "
- Mary Beth Whitehouse (Fashion Stylist)
"As an artist I tend to be driven by high emotions. When I am stuck, I simply remove myself from work and go outside. It’s important to keep myself happy and healthy both physically and mentally.
Balance of mind, body and spirit will guide you towards your happiness. Never let the three steer away from one another. Keep them in line."
- Chelsey Rose, Photographer (@chlc_rose)
"In the eye of the storm, beauty is born through overcoming odds and living out aspirations."
- Kc Dolce, Hip Hop Artist
"Enjoy the little things and the life you live, and eventually the chips will fall into place."
- Hanna Sappington (Ballet Dancer)
"Without struggle there would be no reward. I feel like I'm a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly."
- Phree Hester (Art Designer)
Thanks to all who agreed to be photographed for this series. Images were taken on Canon 5D Mark III (24-70L f/2.8 @ 35mm), Leica Q2 (prime @ 28mm), Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Special thanks to Leica USA for loaning the camera. And also to Bil Brown for showing me a new perspective. [5/2/19]