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Repeated Life Experience

Art Therapy

Art therapy saved my life.

I was at odds with my education. A strange sort of alienation had descended once I entered high school. All that was good, accepted and to be admired was not a part of my culture. Black people spoke different, had different ideas about success, lived in ways at odds with  what was normal. Where I first was made aware that I was "disadvantaged" was in high school.

I didn't feel disadvantaged, under represented or a minority. I knew of racial tension but encountered it only in the deep south. But this weird sense of not being normal intensified as I reached college and attended the University of California at Berkeley. The inner world that resided within did not match or find confirmation from the educational setting I was in; which is why I revolted.

Trapped in a college setting that demanded I learn and appreciate European architecture coupled with industrial capitalism, I held my ground and refused to do so. Instead I searched for alternatives and with the help of a few sensitive faculty, I found ways to complete my education and graduate.

However, in the process of attending UCB, I did gain a true appreciation for design. The beauty of design , even though European in origin, captured my imagination. Without questioning or mentoring, I began to heal the damage done by my education through art. My inner world was different than what was taught. I was compelled to manifest what lay at the root of my being.

To do so, required I become dramatist, illustrator, graphic designer, modeler, story-teller, webmaster, architect and builder. I didn’t create art in order to become an artist. I created art as a means of saving my awareness. Plays, comic books, graphic novels, portraits, architectural designs and constructions became my avenue of expression.

Some may suggest I wasted my life, squandering it on delusion and fantasy. Who can say? In response I can only reply that I gained an education that made me whole. My ancestors had demands which I had to follow, but they did not use me without consideration or return. I began art therapy with questions about identity, legitimacy and relevance. Much to my surprise each of my issues were answered as I followed the path set forth for self-healing.

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