I experience. Then, I paint.
My art, like my life, revolves around my chronic migraines. Everything that I do follows the ebb, flow and crest of wellness. When a migraine comes on, even with my eyes closed, I "see" things. Colors and shapes flood my mind in fluid poetry. These mystical images recede, shift, radiate and pulse, becoming more vibrant and vivid with every capture! Frequently, I paint through a migraine, trying to quickly tap into what I see. When I can’t, I’m able to recall the imagery at a later time, and commit that to canvas.
My work is a constant search to best represent the three and often four dimensional images of my mind onto a two dimensional, flat surface. Each piece I create evolves from a meditative and introspective process, wherein I become one with my art: It is being aware in that moment, being mindful, acknowledging the pain and chaos, and losing myself to the visual symphony that unfolds. Some notes are peaceful while others discordant. I've trained myself to paint through the pain and discomfort: my breathing slows down, my jaw unclenches, and my body slowly begins to relax. Often, completing a painting acts as a release, and reminds me that my mind can do more than just process pain:
It can transform pain into beauty.
I think of myself as an abstract expressionist, with my paintings highlighting a spontaneous and personal mark-making. Even though I wouldn’t call my paintings portraits, all of my works are self-portraits in a way. My art is part of me and I am part of my art.
I hope that my paintings inform viewers about the migraine experience. And inspire them to engage in creative activities when faced with chronic pain, illness, stress, and life-altering events.
Priya Rama has done her Doctoral Studies in Arts Administration, Education and Policy from The Ohio State University. She has an MA in Visual Arts Education from University of Cincinnati, and a BFA in Communication Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University. Priya has exhibited at various venues, both nationally and internationally, and her paintings can be found in private collections around the country. She also has extensive teaching experience, and has presented/published nationally.