Rediscovering the Light was a Draenei piece I painted live at the Bodies of Work Vol. III show in Austin, alongside Rhae and Inkcolor. Rhae and I were there representing FTK, while Inkcolor was there as a supporter of our causes. Since FTK’s mission centers on raising awareness of domestic violence (especially in and around graffiti culture), we all created a piece that spoke to that theme in our own individual ways.
As a multi-time survivor of sexual assault, coercion and relationship violence from the age of 13 through my mid-20s, I spent most of my life fluctuating between feelings of numbness, agoraphobia, and extreme anger. It wasn’t until I was older and created a safe environment, that I was able to unpack, rediscover happiness, nurture my light, and heal my inner child.
Much DV symbolism includes purple hearts and blue butterflies, which was my initial inspiration point for this piece. As I often get experimental with my live paintings, I felt pulled to bring a beautiful fantasy character to life, and who better than the systemically-abused, blue and purple, tentacled-goat people, the Draenei. In Warcraft lore, these people were driven from their home planets multiple times by corrupted ancestors and orcish invaders looking to use and abuse their power and their light. (PS I was actually a hordie – goblin and troll, but the alliance does have more aesthetic character concepts.)
Abuse has the ability to transform you into a demonic and beastly version of yourself. You become your own worst enemy trying to protect yourself by shutting everyone out and, even worse, repeating those cycles, perpetuating the pain that was passed onto you. Only through creating safe harbor for yourself and working though the shadow to rediscover your light and protect it are you able to truly move past the hold that trauma has on you. Or at least that was my experience…