Throughout the year, the ArtWorks community meets a Young Artist from one of our programs who has used the creative and performing arts to help them cope with their illness.
Sometimes, you feel like you’re all alone in the world. That there are other people there, but either they don’t listen to you, or you just feel like they can’t understand you, what you’re feeling, or what you’ve been through. That’s what motivates and inspires me to make art, since art is the universal language.
-Daniel, ArtWorks Alum
Happy Fall everyone! ArtWorks is excited to kick off the new season with a very special Artist of the Month –DANIEL! Daniel is 19-years old and has been a part of the ArtWorks family since he was 4-years old when he was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center for leukemia. He has since grown up, about to start college, and continues to excel as an ArtWorks Alum! Daniel has had a great impact on us through his continuous talent, volunteerism and generosity. Recently, he organized a fundraiser at his high school for ArtWorks AND donated art supplies to go to our Surprise!Supplies program. Art has been an amazing part of his life, and we are thankful that ArtWorks was able to have such an impact on Daniel! Read our interview with Daniel to learn more about his passion, projects, and beautiful perspective on the creative arts.
How did you come to join ArtWorks?
When I was diagnosed with leukemia 15 years ago, I was introduced to ArtWorks, a program that helped me express myself in my time of need. Since then, I’ve participated in the New Jersey Express Yourself show for the past 10 years, both painting and performing.
What do you love most about creating art?
Many people interpret your art in different ways, sometimes even ways that you never even intended. It might cause discussion and debate. That’s what I love about creating art. There’s no one right answer. The message isn’t written out in black and white. Whatever you interpret a piece of art to be really reflects your own being.
Tell us a story from your life you would like to share with the world.
For my Eagle Project, it was very important that it be related to my cancer. I met with the doctors and staff at the hospital where I was treated and came up with a plan for a project. I ended up creating a hands free activity pack that could attach to IV poles which I filled with age appropriate toys, musical instruments, and art supplies for pediatric patients at my former hospital. The hands free part was important to me because I remember being attached to an IV pole a lot of the time and pushing myself around the hospital. That meant I had no free hands. I attached Velcro and a clip that could attach to an IV pole, wheel chair or hospital bed, so kids could take their toys with them. I also added a strap for those who could carry them. I ended up creating and delivering over 130 of these packs to the hospital.
Tell us about a piece you are proud of.
One of the last paintings I made was of a serene beachfront in Hawaii. I had a lot of help with this from an art teacher, but in the end, I was very proud of this painting. The reason that I had painted this in the first place was because I’ve always found beachfronts very peaceful and calming, and it helps to paint when I’m not aggravated for one reason or another. I really felt in touch with the strokes that I was putting into the painting, and I’m really glad that I did.
Finally, please share some words that you would like to pass onto ArtWorks and all the Young Artists of our community.
Some of you may be going through some hard times in your life right now, and it’s important to remember this one little thing: even in the darkest of places, there will always be a speck of light, and as long as you focus on that speck of light, you can turn even the darkest of places into one that is filled with light.
Check out Daniel’s performance at this past Express Yourself-NJ here: