The Upside of Down: Becoming an Artist After an Assault

A previous Guest Writer with Lemon Theory, Michael Carini, who wrote the moving piece regarding suicide and mental health (you can read that here) provides us with another life-altering story that is sure to provoke understanding not just about being an artist, but the process of healing and change.

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April 27, 2019 marked the 10 year anniversary of the assault and battery that led to the birth of "Acrylic Alchemy" and, ultimately, the man I have become. I know this may not be my prettiest picture...though possibly close...but this is real life. Multiple facial fractures, severe eye trauma, and a concussion, this assault and battery was the catalyst for my series "The Up-Side of Down."This teachable moment also breathed life into my signature Carini Arts icon, the image I saw flashing through my head during my concussive state. Some see it as a tree and others see it as a nerve or synapses firing. Both are accurate as it represents life growing from death and creating your own light in times of darkness.

This was a life changing experience that taught me forgiveness and inspired me to share my stories with others that are struggling with various issues in their own lives. The person on the other side of this colorful experience was not a bad person. Sometimes in life there are misunderstandings. Sometimes in life people make horrible mistakes. If I was ever to commit an egregious offense, my hope is that someone would show me the same forgiveness for my transgressions. We're all human. We're all fallible. We all make mistakes. When life punches you in the face a few dozen times you have to roll yourself over, spit out the blood, and pick yourself up. You may not always have someone there to pick you. There may be times you have to do it yourself. I refuse to let anyone or anything hold me down and I will fight until the very last breath. Perhaps I'm fighting for me. Perhaps I'm fighting for you. All I know with certainty is that I'm always fighting for something and someone. I'm a fighter. It's in my blood. You can see that in this photo.

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I have made full amends with the gentleman on the other side of this colorful experience. It was important to me that I do so in the very same place the incident occurred (my living room) because you have to face your traumas and obstacles head on. I also gave his daughter one of the paintings that rose from this empowering experience. I believe "The Limit Of Infinite Possibility" was the perfect piece to serve as a symbol of hope and growth. I wouldn't be the man I am today and many of the things I have accomplished never would have happened if not for this day in my history. I hold no ill will towards him and had already forgiven him when I was asking to take my prom picture in the hospital, doing my best to make light of a difficult situation. It actually bothers me when people speak poorly of him because he's just a man that made a mistake. We all do. It also bothers me when people refer to it as a "beating" because I was never beaten. You aren't beaten until you accept defeat. I will never accept defeat and will never be beaten. Life happens. Laugh it off. Keep fighting though. Always keep fighting. Share your struggles. Empower others. Forgive. Love.

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About Michael Carini:

Michael Carini received his artistic training in Los Angeles, studying at Loyola Marymount University while simultaneously serving as an apprentice under respected artists Jane Brucker and Roland Reiss. Graduating at the top of his class with honors including the Scholar of Distinction Award in Painting, Carini returned to his hometown in San Diego, where he currently maintains his studio. With over 100 exhibitions nationally and internationally, he has received over a dozen major awards and was named Emerging Artist of the Year by Art Design Consultants. Carini's work can be found all over the globe in the collections of celebrities, major businesses, and private collectors. 

You can see more of his work on his site, www.cariniarts.com. You should also check out his Instagram, @acrylicalchemy

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