What Makes an Artist? featuring Always Matilda Photography

Hail, divinest melancholy
whose saintly visage is too bright
to hit the sense of human sight.
-John Milton


I was watching American Idol a couple of weeks ago.  They were down to the top five contestants and were featuring the artists’ journeys to get to the AI stage.  Trent had designed a guitar with his best friend but before it was finished, his best friend died.  He struggled through his loss and came out on the other side embracing his experience, and his best friend, as inspiration.  Dalton (one of my faves) suffers with Bi-Polar disorder.  His grandmother got him his first guitar lesson when he was struggling and it changed his life. La’Porsha was in an abusive relationship and it took having a daughter for her to take charge of her life.  She left and was living in a shelter when she auditioned for American Idol.  Her little baby girl has been at every single show with her headphones on, cheering on her mom.  MacKenzie was a super star basketball player in his high school.  He was rushed to the doctor one day because he experienced a near-fatal bout with a virus which caused him congestive heart failure.  Despite being put into an induced coma, he was able to fully recover and began singing in place of his beloved sport.  Lastly, Sonika really grew up watching American Idol and always knew she wanted to be on the show. Please forgive me for being so blunt, but it came as no surprise that the contestant voted off that week was Sonika.  She has an amazing voice, but that fire, the will to survive – to persevere, just wasn’t there.


The fight of an artist isn’t something you can fake, it’s not really even something that I can explain, but it lives in all of us.  I fully believe that when we can finally embrace our inner demons, to live in the pain and the sorrow, we are finally born!!  That’s where our soul lives and an artist’s soul needs to be freed!!


“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to
school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
– John Keats


I have heard so many stories from fellow photographers and all sorts of artistic people about the struggles that they have endured, the mental illnesses they have fought to control, the fears, insecurities and setbacks that they dove deep into  in order to free their creativity.   What is it about pain that makes us better artists?

I’ve got a story just like everyone else.  My story is not glamorous or necessarily joyful at times, but it’s my story and I wouldn’t be here without it.  I have noticed that the more life throws at me, the more I get in touch with what I have within.  Trust me when I say, I have had a lot of things thrown at me and I’ve never felt both as strong and as weak and broken as I do now.  Six weeks ago I was 33 weeks pregnant and suffered a massive complication.  My life was literally saved although it was too late to save our son.  As a home birth mama, having an emergency c-section and finding out that I would never have a natural birth again,  was also seriously traumatic.  I am falling to pieces inside most days but the ache in my heart also kind of feels like a fire.  It’s crackling and burning and growing.  Getting stronger every day… I want to yell and scream and create!!


I haven’t been out much the past 6 weeks.  I’ve been recovering mostly, although I have done two sessions, bought a puppy and potty trained our 2.5 year old.   Now that I’m getting a little bit back to normal, I’m excited.  I’m excited to embark on this journey of embracing my pain and creating beauty out of it.

I’m excited to heal and see where I end up because of it.








I am excited to be alive!!


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