I still remember going to see Return of the Jedi in the theater in Mexico city, must have been 5 or 6 years old but I was blown away. I hadn’t seen the previous installments so I didn’t know the story but it didn’t matter, it still got me to a degree that very few movies (to this day) have. It was amazing: the characters, the special effects, make up art, the spaceships, laser saber duels… George Lucas had made a world of fantasy as real as this one …or maybe even more, but what really got to me was The Force.
I was just a child but I could feel deep inside my being that The Force was real… this was the first time I encountered a cohesive and balanced description of a higher power in a non-religious set up (I was raised catholic, so there…), and it forever changed me. All throughout my childhood I dreamed of one day becoming a film director.
It was Star Wars that ignited my love for film and hence my love for all art forms; for film encompasses all art —it’s like the pinnacle of creativity. After watching the movie I became obsessed with Star Wars and I am proud to admit that to this day I’m still a hardcore fan ;)
Throughout the years I’ve realized that what Star Wars taught me was the power of storytelling, that if done properly, it could be used to transmit ideas in a non-confrontational manner. With storytelling you can tackle any subject and the message doesn’t have to contend with people’s filters and barriers. People can choose to contemplate the ideas presented or not. This makes storytelling the most respectful way I know to communicate because storytelling is not truth, it may be fact or fiction but still, it isn’t shoving its ideas on you, it simply suggests and I just love that.
I believe that all art is a form of storytelling and by the way I do not believe that art is limited to the fine and performance arts or such and so. I believe that anything can be art if you happen to tap into that which can reach and touch the depths of your being.
You could be a cook, a mom, a gardener, an engineer, anything really and there comes a time – for some it happens straight away and for others it may take years or decades of study and practice – but there comes a time when you happen to tap into the intangible. This is what I consider real art: The Experience and Transmission of the Intangible.
So there in 2014, while I was going through my darkest days (read: How Creativity Saved My Life), around the same time that I found the exit through painting, something else also contributed to my breakthrough…
It was one of those days where just observing the state of the world was gobbling up my life force. I was sitting on the throne with the thought of suicide still doing the rounds when I picked up a thick book, a compendium of hypnotism session transcripts. I opened it at random.
The transcript was that of a man describing that he should feel good about his life for he had “everything”: a good paying job as an IT consultant, a loving wife, beautiful children, the white picked fence and all the goodies, but he felt that something was wrong. He felt that he should be doing something but didn’t know what and he was hoping that “whoever” was at the “other side” could tell him what this was.
The answer from “the other side” gave a very simple reply but one that shook the very core of my being and just like Return of the Jedi, it forever changed me. It said:
“Only you can decide what that is.”
I think I must have been ripe for the understanding because the intangible here is quite elusive but I’ll do my best to explain my realization with what the meager word can do.
In a moment, I realized that my whole life I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me what I’m supposed to do and no matter how much I’d learned and how many extraordinary teachings and teachers I’ve been through, their answer to my unspoken question never felt right and many times it actually pissed me off.
In one single moment I realized that it is impossible for anyone other than you to know what you want because they’re not you. No one can possibly know what you want but you. I thought:
“I don’t like this place, this …Earth, is shit.” I was still in a pretty ugly place back then. “Nothing makes sense here, it’s a madhouse for deranged animals disguised as a planet …I want out!”
But that was still the same thought of suicide that I wanted to break free from. I knew that wasn’t the answer so I continued:
“…If it’s up to me to decide what to do with my life, then… the sky is the limit!”, a sudden lightness weaved through my body. I had just opened the door to possibility, “If it’s all really up to me… then… what I really want is a world that I would like to live in! …but what can I possibly do, I’m just one person” and then they all flashed through my mind: James Cameron and Kevin Feige; J.K. Rowling and Tolkien; Mike McCready and Miles Davis; Pollock and Rothko; Frank Gehry …George Lucas. And I got it:
“I can’t change the world …but I can make my own!”
Just as Lucas had created Star Wars and his creation showed me The Force and changed my life forever, I could do the same. It didn’t matter if it changed the world; if it changed me, I was saved! …and who knows… maybe, if I could touch one person with the intangible, just one… then maybe it was worth a shot.
In that moment I decided that I will build my own world, with art: with painting and writing, music and dance, photography, film, comedy, even cooking. I will share my creations and collaborations, and maybe where there’s someone out there about to roll the knife on her wrists …maybe I can stop that… and if that is all I can do, then it would be a good life, it would be a life worth living …I can live for that.
So here I am, to start I’m painting, blogging and learning about reaching and yes, there are magnitudes of work ahead in all of my endeavors but I have a real reason to do it and all the energy I need. I’m no longer waiting for an answer, I’m making my own.
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Aperture #2, 2016 by Epiphanio Alexander.
36″x 48″ Oil impasto on Gessobord with UV Gloss Varnish.
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