Guest Post: Resident Artist Atiya Jones

                    (Before: Filling in the Spaces / Anyway Possible IV ink on bristol, 4” x 4”)

                    (Before: Filling in the Spaces / Anyway Possible IV ink on bristol, 4” x 4”)

Home: On Being There, Looking For One & Finding One

The lease on my apartment was ending, I’d just been fired from a soul-sucking retail job and I loved the sun. That’s why I moved to Los Angeles in 2009; it was that simple. I had $500 in my bank account and I used half of it to buy a one-way ticket.  My friend’s parents agreed to put me up until I got on my feet. I arrived and proceeded to not work for a month and a half. I was being a post-collegiate deadbeat, but didn’t know how to navigate my way out then. I was too busy succumbing to sun-kissed wanderlust, sprinkled into days where I endlessly filled out my bedspread. The bounty of vitamin D was no opponent for my waves of depression.

 

    Save for a few possessions, I had nothing to really call my own. It weighed on me emotionally. I couldn’t provide for myself. I didn’t live anywhere. My life was completely borrowed. With the money I had, I rode the bus to the beach and drank cheap beer at outlier bars. Eventually, yes I got a job and made a friend (yes, just the one) and we went on to ride buses together. Our terrible retail job, turned into a pretty okay job at a bakery and I moved in with her. I visited NY for my sister’s wedding and sold all of my winter clothes (that’s commitment!). Just a few weeks later I would find myself sitting on a concrete canal of the LA river, crying and my eldest sister bought my flight back home.

    I felt like a king in an empty castle. It killed me that my mother had no idea what my world looked like, and I wasn’t sure if she ever would. I felt guilty sucking up all that landscape and adventure by myself. I’d rather live in the filth with my friends. And just like that, I found my way back to Brooklyn.

 

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    The apartment I live in now has been my home for five years. It has taken just as much time to accumulate the notes, photographs, and artwork that make it feel like it’s mine. I worked hard to build that feeling of foundation. But recently it’s undergone these transformations. My partner, “ours,” more material things. Furniture rearranged and purchased to accommodate the newly acquired romance and the possessions that came along with him. Then India, infidelity, no partner. No matter how much of Me fills this space, it’s not the same. This home is no longer that to me.

 

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    Home. Tattooed on my ribcage. It tells me, reminds me, that everywhere I go I am home. I have to be. I lose track of that notion from time to time. The place where one lives permanently. Inside of this body; I’m my only option. I thought about that everyday during my residency at HC. I meditated. I slept well. I did yoga alone and sang at the top of my lungs. I made new artwork, and I accepted when I didn’t. I wandered through the city and then I wandered to Detroit. I moved with my inner winds. Somewhere along my lines, I forgot that this is what I do. I construct these little versions of home everywhere I go for however long I stay. Home is where I am and where I’ll always be. Knowing and feeling that is grounding. It calms me. Wellness is an integral part of my work, and life. When I am internally unbalanced it is reflected through my lines. I have only ever made self portraits.

                                                  (After: Clarity IV, ink on bristol 17” x 14”)

                                                  (After: Clarity IV, ink on bristol 17” x 14”)