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All I ever wanted was to feel FREE

August 26, 2014


Throughout my life I have had moments where the need to feel free and unattached  have felt overwhelming, I recall once running out of the college studio screaming at the top of my voice in a bid to touch freedom, much to the surprise of my friend, to whom I couldn’t explain it in an understandable way. It was a time when life events had bothered me and were holding me back and I needed to break the feelings of enchainment. Similarly at school I felt like a prisoner and would spend my lessons dreamily looking out of the windows never really there beyond the occupation of a seat with my physical body. I remember during a Geography lesson trying to invent new letters and sounds, so that I could construct my own language, but I realised my mind had been trained and formalised, stifled by a linear and controlling curriculum. So by sixteen I realised that freedom was of primary importance to my human existence and I was already fighting to hold on to it. Sculpture finally became my language of freedom though not without a great struggle and determination. At the age of twenty I had to endure a year of studying furniture design, locked into a design office where I felt tortured and it deeply affected me to the point where my work reflected my discontent, it became so rebellious that the lecturers had no choice but to expel me from the course, shame on me lol. Finally I was able to do my degree in fine art and enjoyed the most settled time of my life, engaged in studying a language of art that was to offer me the freedom to express myself openly and offer me periods of joy and contentment. In 1987 I took my first job as a commercial sculptor, it lasted for about eight months before the feelings of imprisonment took me to the edge of my possibility and made me question the point of my very existence. I was close to total blackness and had to walk away in order to survive, it took nearly a year to recover from my despair, I had experienced a total commitment to something that felt meaningless and paid a heavy price. I felt detached, my hands were making things my mind didn’t want to think about and I became disconnected in a significant way, it was beyond anything that I had experienced and I was unable to deal with it. I walked away from the job and my slow recovery paved a way to finding a meaningful life, the humility and total breakdown of my being led to a significant transformation. I can’t imagine a darker place and I can’t imagine greater torment than the months of relentless despair that haunted my every hour. I realised that if my spirit is crushed and my freedom is taken then I can’t live or function as the man that I am. It’s not even about choice, it feels like a human right and a blessing from the freedom that was afforded to me in my formative years, but it also feels like the true essence of my being. You see I feel that I have a purpose in my life, it’s not simplistic and it’s not absolute, but it’s about living according to how I feel free and able to function in a way that brings relevance to my direction. An unconventional existence within the framework of society, which is somewhat contradictory but I don’t feel comfortable with being totally outside. This puzzles me, because in many ways I possess the attributes of a loner except that I enjoy company and companionship. Life is just so full of dichotomies and harmonious polarities that make contradiction feel like a comfortable norm.


Whether or not my life is about a controlled pre destined voyage or a reactive journey of survival, is a mystery to me and why I seem to make  choices that create tremendous difficulty also puzzles me. But I do know that at the moment that I feel on the right path and able to realise my potential, after a long hard struggle in which I’ve finally released myself from the folly of my own oppression. So many things which worried me and steered my life along ordinary paths were pandering to my own inhibitions and fear of judgment from others. But life is a journey of discovery and overcoming adversity is about the development of character and the acquisition of wisdom and enlightenment. In that sense I have learned a great deal from my journey and made a deep connection with my own humanity, because I had the courage to keep fighting against my own inhibition and the judgement of others. The funny thing is that it is through my drawing that I discover myself and what feels like my true identity, it was my drawing that was always my weakest area because it was the place where my crippling low self-esteem and fear of true expression manifested itself. Now as I draw I search for true freedom, though I’m not there yet, I’m getting close but every time I put pencil to paper I feel the haunting inner conflict and reservations. Fear is a strange notion in the artist and fear of what you may uncover in yourself can stifle your oeuvre because people feel free to judge artists from their output of work, as they should. I was always concerned about what may appear inadvertently and how others could see and read me beyond my own perception of self and quite rightly so. But a true artist needs to find the courage to allow the full exposure of their being and accept the consequences or else just accept a compromised existence of limitation.  I now see my life is a work in progress and I hope to always be challenged and hungry to move and develop towards meaningful goals. Life is just so beautifully complex and a gift with untold possibility, it would be a shame to waste it. 🙂


I had a strange feeling today after doing this sketch, it felt like chapter two of my life began today and that I could finally walk freely into a new era, carrying a renewed sense of purpose and belief in my ability to create with greater insight and depth. I have fought hard to find this path and I hope that I will get another thirty years to develop some interesting work and ideas to give to the world, whether it’s liked or not lol. The most exciting thing for me though is that I never  know what tomorrow will bring. 🙂

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