Alexander Sylvester

Introspective Musings

Growing Pains

explore, create, inspire
June 4, 2020

Our experiences, stories and introspective journey's are most powerful when shared and discussed. It is here that I want to share an intimate, personal experience with others instead of clawing through the noise of social media feeds. Couple with the visual art I've produced over the years, Introspective Musings is the bridge between audience and artist; a written account of how these visions come to be.

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Growing Pains

Untitled, May 2019

Have you ever sat and watched something transform? Have you witnessed birth, death, rebirth or the act of becoming? What is that like? How long does it take? What happens next? 

Each of these is a form of transformation, a change from one state to the next . On and off for the last two years, I’ve caught myself taking notice of the transformation I am undergoing, an internal rite of passage as I continue to thrust myself down the path of my creative spirit. A process nearly invisible without an active effort, transformation is something that fascinates me. Especially when coupled with a healthy dose of introspection and reflection. We all go through it, but when was the last time you really paid attention to it. 

It’s easy to allow our sense of introspection to fall to the wayside eleven and a half months out of the year, only returning to the bitter fruits of one’s yearly journey when they’ve gone past ripe. It’s become culturally embedded into many of us to approach the last week on the Gregorian calendar before our big annual reset to reflect on past successes, mistakes and trajectory moving forward. 

I remember very vividly the first time I ever watched a snake, from beginning to end, shed it’s skin. It starts from the head, and in this case specifically, looked as if that was the most difficult part. The snake writhed and scratched and slammed itself against rough surfaces to make that first step of progress. Once it’s head managed to escape the tightened grip , the process seemed to become easier and easier. Something about that particular moment illuminated my internal dialogue. It just sort of made sense.

Growth starts from the top, in the head within the mind and imagination. Powerful tools of the spirit, creative machinery we are gifted in our human way. When harnessed they allow us to embody a new reality for ourselves; guiding us out of our old skin to emerge not anew, but with increased resilience. But we may not always feel that need to make room to breathe, to make space.  

It’s all too easy to be boxed inside, the screams of your internal self muffled underneath the walking corpse you now pilot, rotting and dragging your feet. So we look within, we examine and reflect which leads us back to our creative self. The part of our being that yearns for experience and exposure. They mold, reshape and ultimately coerce us into growth, so we may achieve what once felt out of reach. 

It wasn’t until I was 26 that I learned to ride a bike or desired to explore creating visual art outside of cinema. Previous to this, I had actually experienced one of the worst sets of depressive episodes I had ever been through. The growing pains were seemingly insurmountable, but I at least was fortunate enough to recognize, to varying degrees, that they were there. I was questioning my career path in pursuing creating art through cinema, jaded and plagued with frustration. But at least, in that time, I was even questioning at all. (As a side note - learning to ride a bike as an adult has potential to be a humiliating experience, especially if you fall and sprain your ankle on the first day. Good thing I have a sense of humor toward myself). 

Reflection and growth have been on my mind for quite some time now. Considering how last year began a critical moment in my personal and artistic growth, discovering more about my voice and where it comes from and harnessing that in my day to day actions.

I think in some grander sense, you could attribute all of my ramblings about growth to what we are all experiencing right now. Society at large is in a place where change is actively taking place, and at breakneck speeds. But are we reflecting often enough, in a real concerted way that we may be able to catch on to this yearning for growth instead of continued regression. Are enough of us taking that look inward to rekindle our relationship with our mind, imagination and creative spirit? Or will we continue to strangle ourselves under the confines of our own dead skin? Will the part of us that is shouting to free our will be heard? 

Much love,

-Alex S.

Images of Growth

A few moments that capture stages of growth in the last 24 months.

The first day I managed to ride my bike on a public road on my own.

The first drawing that really prompted my interest in being a lifelong student of illustration/painting

The subject of this weeks blog is inspired by. I drew this during a very emotionally strenuous time, as I was experiencing a new set of growing pains.

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