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  • Writer's pictureMikel Elam

An Artist's Perspective: Expectation(s)

Updated: Jan 3


I think most of us know the textbook definition of "expectation." I like to think of it as a strong belief that something will happen in the future. Expectation is a path we walk from the moment we are conscious of ourselves within this realm. We create goals for ourselves based on what is already present and the greatest possibilities of its evolution.

For myself, expectations start with dreaming - both awake and in slumber. Then, I create a plan of action, a path to take. I write it down and usually create a schedule since I like reminders. From there, the daily steps of action begin.

I use these steps in creating art and other aspects of my life. Sometimes, this vision must be reconstructed, perhaps because of unforeseen elements we don't anticipate until they occur. Also, our expectations might be unrealistic at certain moments in our lives.

An example would be wanting to be an astronaut without any training. Is it still possible? Yes. It may take longer than we hoped.

The business of art is a strange realm to many. Many nonartists need help understanding why someone would be compelled to create work that might never sell and live in an impoverished state to do so. The truth is most artists are passionate about living in their truth.

Making art is their first truth; thus, they have reached an expectation. In my case, this was something I felt strongly the Universe would be fine with my expectations as a visual artist. I also knew I needed to think of not just myself but my contribution to the world through art in a positive way.

Find your bliss. Figure out how. You can be happy and also share that happiness with others. Listen as you walk the path. Commune with your ancestors, your higher power, and nature. They are all intertwined.

Expectation is not about being rich or famous; it's about the journey. The journey is true enlightenment.


Mikel Elam

Mikel Elam Artist Statement

I am in search of my higher consciousness, all within the constraints of this part melanin-based vessel. Some say we arrive out of the womb already aware of our destiny. I have always gravitated toward future ideas: new approaches and ways of looking at things. I’ve been searching for humanity within the sea of infinite compassion. Simply trying to get closer to the divine. I meditate twice a day. I try to nourish my body and my soul with proper sustenance. My art practice is a continuation of these values. Often leading me into observations about this life and its consequences.

I love all of the art forms. I am most adept with pigments and painting devices. I listen to music, watch films, and read constantly. Although when starting a painting, I work in silence. It gives me better clarity in developing a dialogue and a narrative within the art itself. Once the work is able to stand up, I can then begin to introduce external sounds to continue my practice.

I would say the single most recurring theme in my work is about identity. Especially in these times filled with such animosity towards the skin that many of my brothers and sisters inhabit. It is within this framework my paintings are born. The art, for me, is both an evaluation and validation of our existence. We exist. We are beautiful. We are powerful and humane. We are love.

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