Through the Pain

John Grant

My unwilling entrance to the art world began in 2004. Seemingly, my wife Julie was dying. She had been in the hospital for 28 days, endured four major back surgeries on the many cysts in her spine; and I was juggling with my studies as a grad student with my responsibilities of being a husband and a father of three small children under the age of seven. When Julie returned home, she was wheel-chair bound, and pinkish fluid drained into small bags from her spine. I was freaking out.

I began frantically scribbling a huge charcoal mural on our bedroom wall. I drew a megalopolis  with myself as a tiny knight, powerless in the face of marauding hordes of beasts.  I depicted Julie as a beautiful figure on top of a dome. We were separated by a huge boulevard in a canyon. As I drew, I prayed.  The white paper grew darker and darker, covered by thousands of dense charcoal lines. The beasts grew more menacing, more real.

In the years since, Julie has been very slowly healing. As she heals, I draw more and more. Though she continues to battle chronic pain (feeling thousands of flaming knives stabbing her feet), she can now walk, and even slowly run!

I have since completed thirty-five commissioned portraits and have been very briefly mentored by great L.A. artists like Mark Bradford and Tobias Keene.

I still have that mural high up on our top closet shelf.  I'm fine if I never see it again.


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