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Art Show: The Self-Portrait Show

SOLD - Silenced

by Shawn Marie Hardy

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Art: SOLD - Silenced by Artist Shawn Marie Hardy
This image was drawn during a time when I was really trying to discover who I was. I was feeling very misunderstood by many people in my life and I didn't have much in the way of direction. I was always accused of not knowing what I wanted in my life, but on the contrary, I knew exactly what I wanted, I just didn't know how to accomplish it without being a huge disappointment.

My main problem was that I wanted to pursue art. I had just finished my first year in art school when I decided to head to New Zealand for six months. While I was there things became very clear and I decided I would stop saying I wanted to be an artist, and just BE an artist. I got very busy that year and started selling everything I was creating. But I was feeling the pull from back home, and I knew I would have to leave the comfort of my new life and return to my old life. I couldn't stay in the country legally because of immigration rules and because I was out of money. I became very depressed and while I tried to defend my desires, I never felt like the people I was trying to please understood anything about me.

One night, after being out at a pub until the middle of the night with friends, I returned to my little flat on Brown Street in Dunedin, NZ and began this drawing. All I had, besides the buzz from several glasses of Merlot, was the light of a bright orange heating element from an electric heater. I used a mirror and proceeded to do this drawing by the light of the orange glow. The bar over my mouth represents my inability to speak up for myself. The background spilling into my hair suggests my strong desire to create, and shows the inevitable pull toward finally letting go of the conventional life I tried so hard to lead for so many years.

This piece was done using a very old set of Grumbacher pastels on watercolor paper. The pastels were a set my grandmother used in the 1950's. Interestingly, when this set was given to me by my aunt, so were some drawings that my grandmother did through the years, and I had absolutely no idea that she was creative. She was always busy keeping up the house and garden, and trying to please my grandfather, that she kept her talent and her own desires to herself.


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