An Artist’s Perspective: Mikel Elam, Rest

We’ve heard the line “Waiting to Exhale” it’s that moment when we can just relax . Let it all go and trust everything will be okay . Life can be a struggle. Then why do we do it? Well the beauty in life far surpasses the darkness . We grow we love , we breathe life into others. We lift , we honor , we make sacrifices . We go out to work , put food on the table . Reinforce the roof over our heads .Raise our young . We are literally in perpetual motion for most of our lives .

Then if we’re lucky the silence happens . Our eyelids get heavy . We close them . We lie back . Perhaps we make a sigh . We close our eyes . We drift away into some place between heaven and earth . We are now at rest .

Sleep dear one . Sleep ; for we know the next day will soon appear .To start the wash rinse repeat cycle again.

Mikel Elam


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, 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 reoccurring 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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