My son is an Artist… by Tiffany Belle Harper (non-fiction)

Artwork by Ash

My eldest son sent me this charcoal sketch yesterday. He drew it himself. He’s an artist (a quiet one with this hobby…) At first I was shocked, but then art is about reaction. Then I thought he was beautiful. A character perhaps misunderstood but seemingly unbiased. I do not spend time with my eldest son, as often as I would like. I see pain, yet courage and I see that masculine journey in this artwork. We all have a blank canvas to create anything… and everything is beautiful. Life isn’t always about pretty colours and happy endings. Life is about each part of us and what we feel about ourselves inside. Art is a chance to be heard – not a platform – not a competition. Art can be all of these or none at all. Nobody should feel excluded. And nobody should want that. It’s about being original. I believe.

Since my son was a very young child he has had night terrors. It’s a long story but as a baby he suffered convulsions. A condition more prevalent in boys. His body didn’t drop temperature as quickly as most of us, so when he became ill he would often become delirious and this is when his night terrors got worse. My dad’s epileptic, so I thought my son had a slight strain of this? But during these times he found his best art. You can give him a piece of paper and a pencil and when he’s left alone, he can draw the most magnificent landscapes. The scariest history. The most gorgeous nature. And this picture indeed… a ball of life for all to share. He’s never worked much with colour. A risk as this way all the craft is in the imagery.

I remember at school he was given the task of creating a display in the theme of dinosaurs. Prizes were given out but he didn’t win one, despite his work being years ahead of the other contestants. I asked about this during parents evening and the teacher replied, ‘we believed he didn’t draw it himself.’ I felt frustrated as he had drawn it all by himself and should have come first. But that’s what this life is all about. It’s about accepting how unfair it is for the truly gifted. We’re all leaving our blue prints. We just need to find our way of putting it out there and to be genuine in the face of fake judgements and big ugly front doors and even bigger teeth.

May light prevail in the darkest corners and shine with glitter wands amidst the toes of the tired and weak. May the light rise as one in the beauty of the highest form of life and that is only ever ‘love’. I am so proud my son is drawing once more. I never wanted him to stop. But life’s pressure can often take us away from what we do best. And I am proud my son is an artist.

Mum. X

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