It takes a certain level of courage to create something from raw emotion. To free one’s mind and transcend the critique of the ego is one reason to muster this courage. I discovered this notion about a year ago, and what happened next was a complete revelation for me.

Last fall, I took a philosophy of art class out of curiosity for both the philosophy and art. The class discussed various approaches to critiques on beauty, the sublime, avant-garde and whether the interpretation of art is merely subjective. My favorite lecture covered abstract paintings, which is what sparked my curiosity to start painting for myself.

Creating abstract art is compelling in numerous ways. There is typically a lack of context that allows the paint on the canvas to become the art without a definitive object to focus on. My approach to this concept was to create a background, drip some paint on it and let the art speak for itself. So I decided to paint a silhouette of myself and attempted to control the chaos that followed.

As I stared into my silhouetted background, the art freed my mind from pessimistic thoughts, which formerly plagued my psyche. I watched the world dissolve from my peripheral vision as the paint started to drip from my brush with unconstrained autonomy. I became completely free to explore the emotions I had bottled up for years, which was a truly liberating experience.

Every stroke and motion of my hand was intentional. However, every drop on the canvas was out of my control. From the moment the paint left my brush to the moment of impact, space developed where I had no say in the final appearance. My anger, loneliness, guilt, fatigue and sadness filled this empty space. The result was my estranged silhouette lamented with the emotions I formerly refused to express. In doing so, these emotions no longer haunt me; the canvas has become their home.

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