Ever since I was a little girl, I loved experimenting with different things.
I had a wide range of hobbies that would change from time to time: coin collecting, song writing, sewing or playing the harmonium. However, only one hobby stayed consistent through my childhood, into my young adolescent years and finally onto entering my adult years.
There was this incredible feeling associated with every stroke I made with a brush and every shade I colored with a pencil, which to this date, I cannot put into words. When I pick up my drawing instrument, all the world’s problems seem to temporarily disappear and I feel like I’m 7 years old again with complete freedom to create what I want.
When, in the 3rd grade, studying for my Science test got a little too monotonous, I would take out sheets from the large stack of A4 paper my mother bought for me, and start doodling random things. When, in the 5th grade, I wanted my History project to stand from all the others, I would draw pictures of the Renaissance, just to make my way onto the large display board.
When, in the 9th grade, I started feeling utter stirs of emotion amongst the separation of my parents, I would carry around a large artpad and sketch whatever inspired me. Would grasp onto the annoyingly heavy thing and walk from my mother’s house to my father’s or the other way round. It was the first pen sketch I’d ever done that I felt was impeccable. Each and every little detail of this sketch was a medium for me to let go of all the demons in my mind, onto a piece of paper.
When, in the 10th grade, I couldn’t contain my excitement, as a fangirl, over the release of a new Bullet for My Valentine album, I sketched one of my favorite photos from one of their concerts. The words of encouragement and appreciation I received from posting my work on social media drove me to push the limits and experiment further. I remember spending night and day working on my GCE artwork, just to prove that this was more than just a hobby.
When in the 11th grade, I suffered from unfamiliar feelings of stress and anxiety. I let out the pressure and frustration through 6B and 10B pencils, a mere blessing I would say. Studying for my AS level January mocks would often get so nerve-wracking, that I would seek asylum amongst my brushes, pens and colored pencils.
Throughout all these years…
Everything around me has changed, except that feeling I get when I start to draw. All the writing skills I’ve learnt throughout my school years do not suffice to describe this feeling. The feeling of having control over what happens on my canvas and being able to make things my way. Art has allowed me to learn and grow and has provided me shelter from all the world’s complications that are so difficult to understand. It’s been my companion through it all.
The society I grew up in still consider art to be a taboo and an envoy of bad luck. Countless people I’ve come across advice against it completely, complaining that it has no future and is an epitome of self destruction. Naturally, when I was graded a “U” in my Art AS level, it broke my heart. What I cannot explain to them, is that it’s so much more than just a grade or a subject or a hobby. It is a part of who I am. Nothing would ever take my heart away from a companion so dear, and most definitely not some grade.
Irina Rezwan is good at writing, drawing, painting, cooking and even fishing (don’t ask us how!) Read more from her here.