I learned of Dan Eldon’s story through a blog, headed by artist Seth Apter. I was immediately captivated by the stunning, instinctive, raw and sometimes painful images created by Dan.
This fascination jolted me into another realm as I anxiously read and flipped through the pages of “Dan Eldon: The Art of Life”. I needed to know more about this exuberant, young man! I immediately ordered a collection of books about Dan’s life and a memoir by his mother Kathy, “In the Heart of Life”.
I had to allow myself to contemplate these horrors of reality and ask “Who am I not to express my life; the way I see and experience it?” So, here I am- feeling that it’s utterly impossible to keep my emotions confined. I desperately needed to release the unction within me to be more vulnerable, or, more transparent in my work. To capture such fierceness, intensity and an unshakable stand of faith- this is what drew me in to contribute to this project.
I believe when a soul experiences such a remarkable way of life, one should keep it. The only way to keep something is to give it away to someone else to experience. Through Dan’s artistic journals, that is exactly what has been done. What remains is hope…hope continues to thrive amongst those who are weighted with such memories of life’s joyful and tumultuous adventures.
Discovering Dan’s work has given me the ultimate challenge: never cease to be who I am, even in the darkest of moments. I am strong because I know who I am and what I am made of. I whole-heartedly embrace my heritage and feel that my love of nature keeps me grounded. This unique combination serves as a reminder for me to continue exploring my purpose in life and share my journey with others.
When words elude us, it can be so difficult to communicate exactly how we feel. I was surprised to learn that Kathy implemented a very powerful technique with Dan, in his childhood: “Draw what you are feeling”. I’ve always encouraged others to draw what they feel and not to copy someone else’s version of life. Grab emotions from your own life and freely tell that story.
So, I sign off with this Shakespearean admonition: “This above all: to thine own self be true”.
Martice Smith II