Suicide is a topic that has for many years been near to me. Through my life, I have known several people who have killed themselves. My community and the nation at large is facing an astounding rate of suicide. The topic even hit home when my stepbrother killed himself. Experiencing passive suicidal thoughts for many years of my life lead me to have many deep feelings on the topic. These suicidal thoughts have receded as I age and learn to cope with life better. The thought of suicide is a concept we get exposed to and then either carry with us or let go. For me, I carried these thoughts for years and from time to time the idea still comes to my mind. Now the thoughts are of sympathy and of ways to alleviate these thoughts and feeling from our community
“Find Your Words “ is a public art campaign created by Kaiser Permanente with the goal of raising awareness about mental health and suicide. The city of Pueblo was chosen to host an installment of this campaign. The painting is sectioned into three parts all repeating the phrase “WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER”. The artists involved in the project were The Creatures Crew and Mike Fudge and then we worked as a group with The Boys and Girls Club, The Daisy Girls and other local children to create the third section of the wall. It was great to work with Kaiser Permanent on a project related to suicide and mental health awareness. Pueblo suffers a high suicide rate. It was a great honor to use my voice and my art skills to help remove the stigmas surrounding the talking about mental health and suicide.
Located at the Northeast end loop of the Pueblo River Walk, the painting itself is on the transportation building. This is a massive mural, the wall runs 344ft long and 10ft high. Creating the painting took just over a week to complete. We had mostly nice weather but there was one day where it was too windy to paint and another day when the rain made the day a bust. Overall, even with the weather setbacks, this project went smoothly as we came together as a team and made this powerful work of art come to fruition.
The power of art is in its ability to affect peoples emotions and states of being. Putting a piece of public art along the most highly visited place in Pueblo does exactly that. The pride I feel for the city of Pueblo, The Pueblo Riverwalk, and the people at Kaiser Permanente for making this project happen are immense.
My intention is to do much more public artwork along these lines. My focus now is to work with various groups such as; at-risk youth, homeless, gang members, cons, ex-cons, addicts, the abused, the neglected, and any other fringe groups who need to have their voices heard. This is to teach the art of mural painting to help tell the true story of Pueblo. Pueblo is a city that has suffered and still suffers through a great deal of trauma. It is my belief that through the telling of these stories in a public way we can raise awareness to help heal the city and its inhabitants. At the very least we can bring awareness to these topics.
Mural painting is a powerful way to reach a very broad audience in an effective and inexpensive way. I am currently raising money to put these projects together. In the fall of this year, I plan to have a mural festival showcasing all of the works that have been created about social causes.
This project will be the largest part of this year’s Village Walls. If you would like to contribute to the project in any way am accepting donations as well as selling various shirts, books, works of art, and murals over the summer to help fund the projects. If you are interested in being a part of this project please don’t hesitate to email me or contact me in any way. All donations are so greatly appreciated and I believe will truly help so many people in the community as well as our city as a whole. Together as a community, we can create a city where we no longer fear the unknown but rather we embrace those things which we fear and use them in an effort to make our city a better place for all.
Support The Shadows
The Shadows is an art therpay program aimed at helping the world to learn to express and let go of the dark parts of ourselves through art and creative processes. Donations help to further the video project, work with inmates and youth, and create art of my own to share the message.