"Uncolonize Your Imagination"

Yesterday my dear friend Stef asked me, “what is the most impactful thing you’ve learned these past few months?”

I got excited as the answer came to me right away, in the words of Martin Shaw: to uncolonize my imagination.

When I first read these words, they gently punched me in the gut. I immediately thought of all the things in my life that have inhibited my imagination, and my life’s work as an artist to express it.

I deleted all of my social media apps last year, and it is no surprise to me that my art exploded into different and unpredictable realms. And after I read this phrase, I knew I had more distractions to eliminate, such as TV, movies, and any excess time spent on my phone.

Since recently doing away with many visual distractions in my life, more subtle distractions have surfaced, such as preoccupying myself with other people’s problems, or working to avoid feeling.

And every time I can be still for long enough, without anything needlessly hijacking my full attention, my imagination is given the space it needs to emerge.

What helps me open my imagination is always a story. Whether it be written (as in books), or sung (as in music), or spoken (as in any of type audio recordings), engaging with stories is an exercise of the imagination. And let’s not forget the perhaps the most important stories: ones you hear in person, on the phone, in intimate conversations with friends and lovers.

Ditching my phone, TV, movies, and other distractions has brought me to a deeper, untarnished relationship to my art. It’s pretty cool to see what unfolds in my paintings as my invisible imagination, uncorked, unblocked, is becoming visible on the canvas.

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