Back in May of this year, I posted a blog entitled “Tattoo Art”. I want to repeat a portion of that blog as a preface to the painting I’ll present today:
“I’ve presented a lot of my personal healing art on this site, which to date I believe has all been my painting. I have also shared other healing art mediums, poetry, writing, t-shirts, etc. to underscore the point that healing art encompasses a huge variety of types and manners. Aside from being a painter, I also am an avid tattoo fan. I have numerous tattoos, all of which I have designed myself and all of which have significant meaning to me. They all represent various stages in my life evolution and my recovery process. This includes milestones of achievement, reminders of struggles overcome, celebration of what I’ve accomplished in my life journey and people who have been a significant part of it all. To most everyone else my tattoos are basically colorful shapes and forms and I do get a lot of compliments. (So thank you to Jennifer Cook, my lifelong tattoo artist, for her ability to translate my significant body artwork designs into vivid, relevant tattoos – you can check out her work at www.liquidjadetattoos.com).”
One of my more significant tattoos became the subject of an acrylic on canvas painting. I call the painting “Life Journey”. I represent this journey in two ways, a general sense and a detailed depiction. I represent the general sense of the journey in the background of the painting. The graded wash moves from left to right, from black to a brilliant sky blue portraying a life moving out of darkness, secrets and lies towards a life of illumination and truth.
Across this background is a more significant and varied progression of color and shape. In my art I often use the symbol of a yellow circle to represent myself. I see it as the “true” me, the bright divine light that is who I am, a light that I still struggle to recognize within myself. As a child victim, my perpetrators tried to extinguish that light, to cover it up forever beneath a pile of filth, deceit and violation. This colorful tribal tattoo design begins with the small yellow circle that is me, caught in the dark chaos of my childhood, and move to the right through various color and shape changes, representing the ebb and flow of life as well as the challenges and victories of the recovery process. The diamond in the center of the painting is another symbol I often use that to me signifies supportive family and friends, the fact that we cannot survive the recovery journey without help from others. The tattoo design ends with another yellow circle, this time in the clean, refreshing blue background. This is the point of the journey where healing allows us to move away from being victims and survivors, and to enter that stage where we become thrivers.