By: Matthew Sabey Smith
Art has been a part of my life longer than anything. When I was happy, sad, bored, busy, stressed, worried, lonely or elated- as a kid you would find me in my room drawing, playing music and studying artwork. I’ll never forget I skipped school social events just to get ahead in my work in middle school. My free zone, play zone and finding my flow state.
The truth is a career in art scared the shit out of me. All I would hear is that I would be a starving artist, I would never make a living and while I had support from some, I let the concern of others take me over at times. I used to doubt a career in art because it came easier to me than anything else. I made the mistake thinking work that is hard is the only kind of work a person should be able to do to make a living.
I Got My Doctorate
I ended up on a path to receiving a doctoral education in traditional Chinese medicine. I myself was very sick at the time, I wanted to heal and conventional medicine alone was failing me… I knew there had to be a better, more natural way to heal. Little did I know that move to become “Dr. Matt” would actually heal me from chronic disease that was ruining my life on a daily basis AND solidify my life path as “Artist Matt.”
The truth is, you may never know someone’s life path or purpose for doing something, but in the end, we all have our reasons. I know a lot of people on the surface think I’m crazy for not trying to grow a massive medicine clinic after spending so much money to go to school but that’s only a part of my life that I needed personally. And yes, I still do house calls- I am licensed after all.
But my creativity is what has driven me all along. I had to go through the hard stuff and get beaten down so hard I had nowhere else to turn. That resulted in a massive healing journey that almost broke me.
Why Nature & Wildlife?
So why do I focus my art on Nature and Wildlife?
I went back to nature’s basics- Taoist diagnostic and observation theories I learned in my schooling, natural medicine and a willingness to heal are the reason I am still alive, now healthy and equipped with meaning in my life more than ever before.
Within just over a year timespan I have faced the death of my father Rocky, the death of my first son Oak, the pregnancy struggles of my wife Kristen and the health struggles of my second son Koa.
I am a changed man and there is no question I have faced the death of the old me…
Life is unpredictable. You think you may have control but in the end, it is fragile, a gift, and way too short to wait for the conditions of “I’ll be happy when…”
My charcoal work has a whole new meaning for me now. My father is now ash, my son Oak is now ash and one day I too will become ash like them.
Like drawing with charcoal dust, our lives are delicate. When our essence grabs onto the canvas in the right way, we can stick to it, build upon it and become something beautiful.
When the wind blows too hard we may begin to disappear and lose a part of what we once were. But what becomes erased by the wind can be replaced with a greater beauty as a result of that charcoal ash.
We have a choice how we create the composition of our lives. With each stroke we add an imprint on our life canvas, and with each challenge, we erase and try again.
Life is a gift…an opportunity to become a master of our craft.
Fear, happiness, sadness, material things- will all disappear in a matter of time.
This is why I too have chosen to transform myself, my life and how I live it- I wish everyone knew of the choice they have to do the same. We are all wild, and we deserve to run free…