Recently I was given a PTSD diagnosis and my therapist asked me if I felt my disorder had affected my life personally, professionally, or academically? To which I replied “Oh absolutely, without a doubt it has shaped me into the person I am today.” Through this conversation I came to the realization that it was specifically the emotional turmoil I have been battling my entire life that led me to believe the only career that would not only allow but might even applaud my mania was a career one in the arts.
Now three years into being a full time practicing artist I’ve come to understand that the intention of my work is to personify concepts and issues that through our own experiences we have developed a personal bias with, so that we may remove our political and partisan connotations on issues that affect us all, as living beings who inhabit the same space. Although my work may at its origin be personally motivated, I use my own experiences and emotions to relate to the world at large, as I know my experiences are not unique to me. Rather I am a reflection of the time, place, and community in which I arrived. I am their stories, morals, values, fears, their best parts and their worst.
I am Evan Marnell and that is unique. This set of experiences and the culmination of all of these moments are what came together to curate the person I am today. Yet I know that there are few things in this life that I have felt and experienced that are only unique to me. So although Evan Marnell is the author of all this work, I have learned the power in being forthcoming with my experiences (as this was the only reason I survived homelessness.) Because I know if I felt it, someone, somewhere else in this big wide world did too and there is validity in sharing these feelings, in highlighting all of the seemingly impossible connections we can share from worlds away.
The power in art lies in its ability to visually communicate an issue or idea so that we may remove our connotations to the charged language at hand and in a way simplify the issue. Everyone can feel and feelings are indisputable, words however are. Spending much of my life trying to get others to understand the issues I was facing in my own life so I may feel heard, is what lead me to create work that could help everyone understand topics that may be hard to reach, difficult to discuss, or overwhelming so that we may have a better chance of reaching common ground. (In hopes that one day we can all reach a better understanding of each other and the validity in our experiences and the connections we may feel to them.) Maybe then we could break down these walls, barriers and barricades we’ve put up to separate and divide us so we may truly commune, collect and come together to work towards a better future for us all, not just those of privilege.
"I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live." – George Bernard Shaw