LOS ANGELES, California—Art can lift spirits, connecting artists more deeply to themselves and audiences they may choose to share their work with.
By sharing, the artists can lift the spirits of others, whether through inspiring laughter, rhythmic head nodding, or unblinking stares attempting to catch every meaning of a brush stroke.
Such artists have the ability to heal themselves when feeling down, their art contributing to “doctors’ orders” and medication for illness, sometimes even acting in place of.
Sometimes, art even saves them.
These artists flavor the world with diverse thought, using their painful experiences to push them toward progress.
Learning from them could be essential. How do they do it?
Mr. Thom Trần, comedian
Mr. Thom Trần is a comic, actor, writer, and producer living in Los Angeles, California. After serving eight years in the United States Army, his career ended in 2005 when he was wounded in combat.
On his first tour in Iraq, while he was a sergeant and part of the special operations command, a bullet grazed Mr. Trần's head.
The only way for Mr. Trần to heal emotionally was through his art, his comedy. It saved him.
“It's something I had to use to help me deal with post combat trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Mr. Trần was quoted in a WIVB story from 9 October 2011. “It's what's been getting me through the last few years.”
Mr. Trần doesn’t just keep his art to himself. He performs weekly comedy shows at clubs like World Famous Laugh Factory, The Hollywood Improv, and the Comedy Store, as well as travels the east coast and mid-west doing comedy tours.
He even uses his comedy to help heal current military service members, performing at benefits to raise money for organizations, like the United Service Organizations (USO), that offer comfort to service members deployed overseas.
In 2008, Mr. Trần went back to Iraq and performed for troops at two dozen bases and combat outposts throughout the country.
Mr. Trần's latest project, GIs of Comedy, stars himself and four fellow vets and comedians. It is a standup comedy show for all branches of the military.
“Let's give them 90 minutes to forget about where they are and let them laugh a bit,” Mr. Trần was quoted again in WIVB.
Ms. Roya Doste, painter
Ms. Roya Doste is an Afghan art teacher, using her experience as a painter to help her students heal.
“There are 80 kids here and all of them have stories that need to be told,” she was quoted in a CBS story on 7 October 2011. “I want to help them express themselves.”
She was seven when her father died at war with the Soviets and her loss pushed her to begin painting. Like Mr. Trần, her art also saved her.
“I couldn't speak of the pain in my heart, except through painting,” she was again quoted in CBS.
Five months ago, Ms. Doste quit her job as a graphic designer in Germany to return to Afghanistan and help orphan children, who were all dealing with loss in a personal way.
Under Taliban rule, singing, drawing, painting, and taking pictures were all forbidden. Since the Fall of the Taliban in 2001, children have been able to express themselves using such methods.
Ms. Doste told CBS that she is happiest in the classroom, watching the children heal as they paint.
Shye Eaze, recording artist
Los Angeles based recording and performing artist, Shye Eaze, writes when her emotions are strongest.
She told the Viễn Đông that lately she’s been feeling rage and sorrow.
As her best friend passed away earlier this year and her boyfriend has joined the Army, Shye Eaze feels lonely and unheard.
“The paper doesn’t talk back to me, it’s there” she told the Viễn Đông, adding that sometimes she wants to be able to talk to people and simply have them listen, without saying something they think will help her feel better.
With each stanza she writes, she feels a weight being lifted off of her shoulder and performing her work is the highest level of relief for her.
“People will automatically see it while being in your presence,” Shye Eaze told the Viễn Đông, speaking about a beautiful soul. Performing helps her to connect with an audience that will be inspired to reflect such beauty.
Get to know a couple of the artists
For info on Mr. Trần, visit online at http://www.thomtran.com/.
For info on Shye Eaze, visit online at http://www.myspace.com/shyeeazy.