This is a dual self-portrait of myself and all artists questioning the idea “do you have to experience suffering or just understand it to be a good artist?” And when does it end? Sometimes the work just flows and other times making art is a struggle. Ask any true artist and you will learn that our path is one filled with torture. The torment of criticism, rejection, and being misunderstood are a constant way of life. The droplets of paint through out the piece represents a source of pain. The cage shows my personal aversion to feeling trapped and a fear of commitment. The two fish represent my internal conflict between endless days of solitude in the studio and the public side of me who shares these personal thoughts. The circle of thorns, originally a symbol of Christ, is a homage to artist Frida Kahlo. Butterflies and birds reflect the human soul and all that is sacrificed to create the art. The gray hair of the girl indicates she is wise before her time and the fragility of her lost innocence. She is surrounded by nature because that is what inspires and comforts her. The dove fashioned into a heart symbolizes what is sacred and the falling skeleton represents all that is lost.