Since I began making art, I have wanted to learn as many mediums as I possibly could to be able to convey a strong message for those with invisible illnesses, including myself. My entire life has involved invisible medical issues from being diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at one year old, an autoimmune disease to getting diagnosed with carpel tunnel this past winter. This had a severe effect on my own personal imagery of my own body growing into adulthood. Others commonly believe that, because the exterior did not reflect the damaged interior, I do not qualify as chronically ill or disabled. This affects me even now and has been a constant influence in the imagery of who I am, what I choose to depict, and how I bring myself into my work.
I now have the ability and knowledge to create work to bring to light the daily struggles of people like myself that a healthy society does not acknowledge. “My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness,” Edvard Munch once wrote. “Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder…my sufferings are part of myself and my art. They are indistinguishable from me and their destruction would destroy my art.” I began making art at a very young age due to my physical limitations. Art was one of the things I was allowed to do that did not cause me pain. There isn’t a time I can recall that art was not a part of my life or a part of my healing process. It was a logical decision to pursue art in my undergraduate career, as well as at the time my newfound love and companion to art, art history.
The choice of changing to a BA in Art was really in part to the realization that I wanted to go to graduate school for Art History. I had made the realization that when I applied, most institutions would not care a whit if I had a BA or a BFA in art, all that mattered is what I know and how to utilize that knowledge. I have always been a Bachelor of Arts for Art History and a Bachelor of Fine Art for 2D, but only this past February (2015) I have become a BA for Art. There was a multitude of factors that played into this, and my health was defiantly a strong factor, but what I wanted in the way of pursuing graduate school was stronger. I would let it be known that my health and my illnesses never stopped me from pursuing all that I dreamed of learning. If I had ever let my illness take over my life, I would have never gotten anywhere that I am today.
I also have a personal belief that if I am to go into a career with art history, and I have a love of art, why not combine both? I think it is a lost aspect to many art historians that much of what their knowledge consists of is not from actually experiencing the creation of a piece of work within that medium. A person can talk all day about techniques in a reciting from memorization, but only when you have true insight and knowledge of the struggle of a particular medium, the real effort it takes to produce a work, let alone a masterpiece is when you can truly gain a deeper knowledge and familiarity with the artist and the piece, bridging the gap between centuries of change. This is what is vital to how I want to define myself as an artist and an art historian and to delve into the disconnect between the two careers that goes unrecognized. This is why I am grateful to being a BA in Art History and Art, because all that matters in the future is my knowledge and the application of that knowledge to be able to educate future generations.