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Kaitlyn Johnson

Many people ask me what inspires me when I paint, and if I'm honest, I am not sure myself sometimes. I feel like I have an inherent desire to understand my emotions and painting helps me to do so. I focus mainly on negative emotions and how I personally process grief. I see my art as almost a log of past lives and eras that I have gone through, and my work acts like a time stamp of what I was going through at the time. My journey in creating Altarpiece helped me see where I am, currently, in my mental health and mindset. Personally, Altarpiece feels hopeful, and it feels like a progression from where I have been in my mental health previously. This year I found myself broken into threes: weakness, growth, and resolve, but seeing the artwork completed I interpret them differently as stages of grief.

There is not a lot of planning that goes into my painting process, and i work impulsively; landing at the first subject that "feels right", and I dissect the decision afterwards. The objects added are nostalgic and symbolic but together they all kind of feel nonsensical. I think I've done that because grief can feel absurd, complex, and confusing at times. For me, painting has helped me decipher myself and my tendencies and helps me better understand and accept my negative emotions which are natural, yet seemingly hidden, part in everyone's lives. It is a subject that everyone can connect with, being the death of a loved one, death of a past self, or death in potential.

In the end, I feel like you, a person viewing my art and trying to find connection and meaning in it all. I hope you view my art freely, without any pressure to understand it, and I hope you feel like you have the freedom to feel and process your grief.

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