"Although my life has been marked by much sadness, sorrow, struggles, and difficulties, there is also this radiant flower that always blooms inside. No matter the hard times, that flower just keeps blooming."
Judi, who prefers to go by her artist name JMW, defines herself as an “expressive artist.” A trained dancer and actress, JMW combines all of her talents when creating her paintings; she chooses a song based on the mood or emotion that she wants to express, and then paints. “I allow the music to flow through me and the dance helps to shape and create the painting. I hope people feel that that my paintings are full of life, emotion and energy, because that is what I put into creating each one!”
JMW was diagnosed with a mental illness at age 22 and struggled for many years, yet notes she always found comfort in art workshops. JMW currently works with a community support team at Thresholds on Chicago’s North Side, and feels she has reached her definition of success or “recovery” in her life. She says, "I prayed I'd be able to make a living off my artwork, and now I really am!"
Creating her paintings helps JMW transform all of the pent-up emotions she has been holding throughout her life into pure happiness. She says, “It’s like I was trapped inside a box my whole life, and now I can express myself big and loud through my paintings, and feel that people value what I create. I feel overjoyed when my paintings go to a good home where people love and appreciate them. It's like I get to share the best parts of myself with the world. Through painting, I feel that I have transformed into a butterfly!"
ArtLifting empowers artists impacted by homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork. Learn more here.