You have so much patience

She said after slowly hovering over my shoulder.

We are curious, I get it. We want to know. There's this burning desire to know more and this innate need to connect (although some people make it very, very hard to). I need to see in you something that reminds me of myself. Of my own humanity.

And isn't that what art does? 

It's what connects us to each other and to ourselves. And It doesn't have to be explained, discussed or analized to death. It has to be felt. 

The reason behind it all - flavia bernardes art blog

So instead of coming up with some snarky response, I kept my thoughts to myself and just smiled. Eventually she let go and went on to patronize someone else. And I was left to work. But after she left I kept thinking about why I make what I make, the way that I make it. And the more I thought about it the more I knew that it really wasn't about patience at all. 

It's about making sense of the world around me. Of what I feel and how I feel it. Of things I don't really understand.

It's about being vulnerable. Being raw. Being human.

And I make what I make because I have to. Because it's what keeps me sane... and grounded.

It's what got me through the darkest moments of my life. It gave me a voice when I had none.

And it's what connects me to others. I can only see, truly see others, when I'm willing to let myself be seen. Flaws and all.

I understand the need to know more, to understand something, but rationalization is not really the answer here. It's something that needs to be experienced. And you either like it or not. 

paintings of people sleeping

"And wouldn't it just be easier to paint pretty things?"

Maybe. But it wouldn't be better. Although a lot of people think of art as beauty or as something that will go with their couches, that's not really what art is about. Art is not just about beauty. It's not mere decoration. It's far more than that. Some of the most amazing artworks of all time depict loss, tragedy, horror and despair. We paint what we experience and it ain't always all roses...

painting of woman smashed against glass

As for me, I'm far more interested in what's beneath the mask.

What I do is not for everyone (I know, shocker). But really. I'm not trying to please everyone (I'm not chocolate). And as much as I'm flattered by the people who like my work, I'm not making my paintings for them either. I do what I do because it absolutely sets my soul on fire.

It's what makes me happy.


If that matches somebody's couch, great, but that's not the reason why I make it. It's deeper than that. It's about expression. It's about freedom. About having a voice. It's about being heard and being seen. It's peeling off the masks and letting yourself be seen for who you are. No poses. No façades. 

And that's where real beauty is.