The Artist

Donald Brown

When I was about fourteen years old, I took a lump of soft, muddy clay home from school and created a head of myself, on the kitchen table. Seeing my passion and commitment for sculpture, my mother asked me, “What is playing with mud going to do for you?”

The general consensus amongst my immediate circle of influence was that one had to be exceptionally gifted, determined and extremely fortunate to garner the appropriate opportunities in order to avoid winding up as a failed and or starving artist. In Great Britain, a young black man, pursuing figurative sculpture as a serious career was as foreign to social thinking, twenty-five years ago, as I believe it is today. There were and are no black sculptors like Michelangelo, Rodin or Bernini with whom others and I could identify with to celebrate and emulate. Mother’s concern later proved to be one of the most significant and motivating questions that helped in my development as an artist and as a man, by virtue of the seeming negative energy it imbued.

I soon discovered the art of converting negative energy into positive energy and still find it to be a liberating and empowering experience and an ability that can be developed into one of many essential life skills.It can be a natural reaction for individuals to internalize a negative comment that is directed at them, albeit with good intentions.

For example, how many times have you had what you consider to be a great idea, or visualised new goals and dreams but upon sharing them with others you find they do not share your vision or enthusiasm?  They have nothing to say by way of encouragement but instead, they discourage and possibly derail you. If so many dreams are potentially lost, because others disapprove, what does that say about the insecurity of those who allow such negative energies to significantly alter the course of their lives? Ultimately, who really is the decision-maker regarding that particular aspect of your life? control of your mental journey, in order to maintain control of your life’s journey. Allowing others to make decisions for us can result in our suffering the consequences of their indiscretions.

Being decisive builds confidence and character. Even if we make poor choices we can learn and grow from understanding our mistakes.  However, by seeking the valued opinions of others, it is possible to be discreet with our personal information, whilst accumulating a wealth of knowledge that can better position us to make our own wise decisions.

It is often said that a unique door that is opened to us is an opportunity of a lifetime. It is my opinion that we can spend our entire lives walking through many doors that are opened for us; however, very often we have the keys to the doors that only we can open.

“Look not to others to grant you that which you already have.” Donald Brown