In 2017, I started creating physical illustrations with a black sharpie and an 8.5″x5″ sketch pad. My purpose was to give family members birthday cards. Due to my epilepsy and an overwhelming toxic home environment of physical violence, this was a very difficult time for my physical and mental state.. When I started getting used to how my medium worked, I started feeling more and more confident in the ideas floating in my mind. Each morning I would wake up and walk to a nearby cafe, put on my headphones, and start with a single line. Since June 2021, I began to use more structure in the manually drawn pictures and include colors using Adobe Illustrator to gain a multimedia approach. I also started including stories of the historical, cultural, and other facts about each design.
My first design was of a silly burger monster for my niece’s 13th birthday. She absolutely loved it, which began to open my heart and mind to explore future ideas. Unfortunately, my ailment put my artwork on hold for four years. On August 9, 2018, I had my first craniotomy at Hoag in Newport Beach to help control my seizures. On August 16, I had a second surgery to remove 3mm of brain tissue in my left temporal lobe. Following my procedure, I remained in the hospital through the beginning of September. I had to relearn to walk, speak, read, write, and many other standard acts to get through the day. After the procedure, many memories of past life experiences were obliterated. Roughly two weeks after discharge, I developed inflammation and an abnormality over the incision site. There was an aneurysm requiring immediate attention. Luckily, the problem was caught at just the right time. Overall, the surgery was successful, and I was seizure-free for two years. My seizures are now rare and less severe.
In April 2021, I noticed my hand and body tremors were mild, giving me more confidence to restart my interest in drawing. Since that point, I have created 144 pieces. What keeps me going is making art; it helps control my mind and puts me into a timeless universe of concentration and contentment I had never experienced. Mentally, art and music have been the most powerful medications to keep me stable. The more I can accomplish, the more I can stay peaceful. All of this started just to get a giggle from a family member with a silly burger monster.
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