It is a courageous and healing act to look into the dark corners within ourselves that we habitually shy away from and seek distraction from. It requires great bravery to explore our pain even in a brief, private moment.
To then offer our discoveries to others is to reveal aspects of ourselves that we typically spend lots of energy hiding. This requires even greater courage. And doing so allows the other to touch and acknowledge those very same features within their own being.
"You've gotta learn to be comfortable with your issues," he says. "And I think this event is definitely helping me explore that, and I hope that it does that for other artists as well."
The idea for the event came about slowly as Calhoun began exploring repressed memories of molestation in his past through artistic pursuit. It's a painful, creative process in which that which has been existing and maturing inside the individual is given to the world, resulting in a feeling of relief and a new entity: the art. It's not at all unlike the birth process.
In fact, the parallel between artistic birth and human birth is especially relevant here, as the day of the event also marks Calhoun's birthday. Though he's never been too big on birthdays, it seems that this year he may get his wish.
"All I wanted for my birthday was to have my favorite local bands and artists around me and be able to get whatever pain is inside of me out in to the universe so that I can get on to the next project."
Folks attending this unique birthday party can expect to be challenged and inspired. It's not easy looking into the dark corners of others' minds, nor our own. However, as these artists have gone there, so can we all. And in doing so, we may see that what's been hiding there doesn't have much power over us after all.
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"I have this theory now with my art and with my life," says Calhoun. "That if I'm a completely open book, if I expose everything about myself, not only am I showing myself how I am but I'm safe from criticism, I'm safe from judgment, I'm safe from all of that. Only because I've already exposed it. I have nothing to hide."
The Art of Pain featuring artists Valyn Calhoun, Jen Locane, Rory Carracino, Gina Bentivegna, Rolando Barrero, Victor Hugo Vaca Jr., Rosa Mia Hernandez, Kimberly Kearney, Misha Grosvenor, Deda Daisy Starling, Steven Hunter, Andrew Ackerman, Kristin Frenzel, Arkadiy Avrorov, Heather Davis, Wendy Doscher-Smith, Bryan Houck, Ellyse Amelia, Ryan Maslow, Angela Yang, Rene Gordon, La Mano Fria, and GPK Crew; and bands Pocket of Lollipops, the Loxahatchee Sinners Union, Dooms De Pop, Xela Zaid. 7 p.m. Saturday, March 17 at the Bubble, 810 NE 4 Ave., Fort Lauderdale. $10 cover includes complimentary drinks. Click here.