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 had been battling my entire life that made me believe the only career that would not only allow but might even applaud my mania, was one in the arts.
I’ve spent the last three years as a full time practicing artist, which has allowed me to reach a more grounded understanding behind my intention for making. My work personifies larger social concepts that through our unique experiences we have developed a personal bias with, so that viewers may remove their political and partisan connotations on issues that affect us all, as living beings who inhabit the same space. Although at its origin my work is often personally motivated, I use my 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 inevitably their worst.
I am Evan Marnell and that is unique. This set of experiences and culmination of moments are what came together to create and curate the person I am today. Although Evan Marnell is the author of this work I know the stories I share are rarely unique to me. However there is meaning in sharing my experience. I survived homelessness by my honesty. How would my peers know my needs had I not voiced them? I know if I felt, saw, heard, experienced it, someone, somewhere else in this big wide world did too. 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 preconceived notions to the charged language at hand and in a way simplify the complexities of the given problem or 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 so I may feel heard, is what led me to create work that could help others better empathize with topics that may be hard to reach, difficult to discuss, or overwhelming. In hopes of moving closer to a world where our differences aren’t just understood, but uplifted in celebration. Maybe then we can break down the barriers and barricades we’ve put up to separate and divide us. Only then may we truly collect, commune, and come together to construct a better future for all, not just the majority.
"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