I wanted to share something that is a very special part of me since as far as I can remember and that special something is art. This 30 by 45 charcoal piece has a special place in my heart not only because it was my first large sized piece I created years ago when I was 18 years old but because of the history behind it.

I have been drawing since I was five and it is the only memory during that age I can remember vividly. Even though art was a huge part of my life I never entertained the thought of going to classes or actually showing my work for public view maybe it was a lack of self- confidence due to the strong hand of my father who was supportive in my skills but constantly stated no money was to be made in the field of art. With this constant reinforced hand my attention focused on more academic pursuits but by the time I reached the beginning of my senior year in high school the fire of art was too hard to smother. As an untrained artist I was only able to take basic art classes until the encouragement of my art teacher, mother and sister convinced me to apply to the gifted and talented program in my senior year. I was hesitant in applying but forged ahead. I also feel my hesitation stemmed from race which is unfortunate but if accepted I would be the first black student to be accepted into the gifted and talented program. Long story short I applied and was denied and told I did not have the skills or experience to even apply never less to be accepted.  I was devastated but my mother, sister and art teacher were like your dismal was “complete and utter nonsense”. I think my sister wanted to beat this teacher up at the time, lol. Even though I was dismissed as not being good enough I continued my art because it was what I loved.  Senior year was coming to an end which meant it was time for the coveted Annual Statewide art competition consisting of artists from all of the gifted and talented programs.  Non gifted and talented artists could apply but had to past a pre-elimination to even compete. Again I was hesitant because history seemed to be repeating itself because I would be the only black individual if accepted past pre elimination and with my dismal earlier that year from the gifted and talented program I thought it was a long shot but I was raised to believe let know one tell you what you can or can’t achieve and also with the support of my family I submitted my piece which I created above and called the piece “Windows to the Soul”.

The Annual Statewide Competition would be held at a museum holding all of the submissions of the artist with attendance of the artists, teachers, judges, family and friends. Long story short not only did I past the pre-elimination as an untrained artist but for the competition I cleaned house. I took home all awards that night. “Best in Show”, “People’s Choice” and Scholarship prize. I could hear the screams of joy from my mother, sister and art teacher tear through the roof who were all in attendance that night and to put the cherry on top, the same gifted and talented teacher who told me I wasn’t good enough was in attendance as well. Let’s just say I had some special chosen words for him and they weren’t nice but I kept it moving I was too busy on a high with all the positivity that was surrounding me.

To be honest life is too short to listen to someone who tells you that you aren’t “good enough” when you are pursuing a passion. I believe pursuing the passion is the “good enough” in itself. If I would have focused and put belief in the dismal of that gifted and talented art teacher I would never have seen the next opportunity coming.

When one door closes do not be blind to see another is open not too far away!