I was 5 years old then, when I held my first pencil. I remember not writing down letters but drawing squiggly lines and circles that didn’t look like circles at all; and I can say that I made art for the first time. At an early age I expressed myself, not with words, but with the lines that I’ve drawn. From that moment on, I thought I was going to be an artist when I grow up. I couldn’t help getting excited in Art class and feel proud whenever my work gets posted on the mini-exhibit. It was a colorful childhood indeed.
However, as I grew up, things got serious; I was constantly reminded to think of my future. It was evident within my pencil case; erasers were replaced with correction tapes, crayons with highlighters, and my pencils with pens. I have to study hard to be able to have a bright future and a good job. I totally forgot about colors, what was left of me were all black and white, thick books and words written on it. Moreover, there came a point in my life where things aren’t going too well for me and I grew frustrated; but as I was fixing my old stuff, I stumbled upon my old set of pencils, and I thought why not give it a try. I started drawing lines on a piece of paper, and before I knew it, I was making art again. I found an outlet that made me feel better, having the freedom to express myself and my feelings, on a piece of paper.
I realized what makes art so special: its beauty is eternal and universal. It gives you an idea of the emotion, thought, and culture of the artist; it creates bridges for understanding when words are not enough. Even if years have passed by, a work of art never loses its splendor or its meaning like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa; it is true that in order to understand the art of other cultures, one must detach himself from his. Every masterpiece mirrors the creator; the culture he grew up in, his beliefs, and inspirations. An individual must open his mind, to see the real beauty of an artwork.
Up until now, I still find myself grabbing onto a piece of paper and a pencil whenever I feel the need to do so. I must admit, I’m not really a good artist in terms of pleasing the audience’s eyes. My work is an expression of myself, a reflection of my interests, thoughts, and feelings. One may look at an artwork as a piece of writing material that has lines or marks on it, but behind every work of art are hours of hard work and emotions of an artist. We must open ourselves to every masterpiece, because it paves way to understand the creator; an artist who started with a pencil.
By Ellaine Bernardino, a regional intern at World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific. If you are interested in a World Youth Alliance internship, click here for more details. If you are also an artist and would like to explore the role of art in community, consider attending the WYA International Arts Forum this November in New York.