Nature’s Beauty by Josh Swetky

Nature’s Beauty by Josh Swetky

Medium: Pen and pencil

Size: 12 x 15

Artist bio:

It’s been said that it’s wise to learn from your mistakes, but even wiser to learn from the mistakes of others, so you never have to experience them. 303Illmagination is intended to utilize the inner skill of art to communicate for change in a different medium or unique voice as mentioned above. It’s my wish that I would’ve taken advantage of that wisdom at an earlier age. It would have saved me a huge amount of pain, confusion, and other consequences due to my actions. But I had the attitude that it’s my life and I’ll live it the way I want! Soon I found myself locked up behind bars, repeatedly where I had no choice but to follow the rules. But if I knew then what I know now, I would have lived my life differently. So I understand the situation, and I have dedicated practically my entire life to gangs, drugs, and being incarcerated.  Years of letting my family down, leaving the burden on them, wondering how long I would even be alive!

 I can’t recall the time I made my mother proud, or made myself into a big brother. The basis of my rehabilitation is to do just that. Along with bettering myself I’m going to show you how to formulate a different plan and how we can use our talents in a way to express ourselves in a healthy way, and bring beauty to the world instead of destruction and chaos. At the age of 13, I found the needle in the streets. In my mind I thought I was a big man, really grown up. 

I could leave when I wanted, dress how I chose and be who I wanted to be. But there was just one problem. I didn’t know the first thing about either one. I didn’t know until I  became a white supremacist . I found an identity, and along with that identity came various tests and obligations. As a result I was a willing participant in several crimes. That I am NOT very proud of. Deep in my heart I knew that I had been brought up to live in a different way. But I wasn’t myself any longer. I was who I was portraying myself to be. The first to feel good and to be in a position of not have anyone to answer to. I could indulge in all of the things I was taught not to do. I was drinking, smoking, injecting drugs, and selling drugs to support my own habit.  I was completely numb to the fact that I was heading down the road to nowhere fast. Instead of being wise, and deciding to slow down, I decided to stay on this road to destruction. I had an image I was desperate to portray, and there was only one way to do it  which was to be with others who didn’t have the heart to be that front line soldier. I was sort of eager to uphold that image, always committing myself wholeheartedly. I saw myself as being loyal, but collective, but in actuality, I was being used due to the ignorance of my own self worth and a full sense of pride.  But I had found something to be part of. I was like a lot of young people in our society today. I was looking for ways outside myself to prove to others that I was worth something instead of looking within myself, and recognizing how much worth I truly possessed.  That’s why it’s very important to take the time while you’re young to focus on who you are and what you aspirations are in life. This is how you put yourself into the identity. The longer you wait the harder it will become. 

Life has a way of screwing our perceptions of what is to be successful. How to go about obtaining it.  Those who experience various tribulations, temptations, and other struggles go about it differently than the person who had an early age knew what he wanted to be in life and took the steps to reach that destination. Another self defeating obstacle we have a tendency to find out in our path is focusing too far in advance, and paying attention to our current mistakes. We must learn from them so as not to repeat them. But if we would step back and stop and think about what it was that caused us to make that mistake in the first place , we would have the wisdom to overcome the particular obstacle that caused the problem in the first place. 

So slow down young man or woman, and take the time to get to know who you are, not who you want others to believe that you are, and you will come to realize that you are enough and have self worth. I was never great with words to express my thoughts. I kept them all bottled up inside in never releasing them until I learned it was possible to put them from pencil to paper. I suffer from bipolar and ADHD, and find happiness in art as a way to channel the madness in a healthy format. This can be applied  to anyone. You’ll be able to accept others regardless of race, religion, creed, ethnicity, sexuality, or ideology. I’m ashamed of my past when I had these views. But now I do not discriminate and work every day to treat others as equals.  And I see how wrong I was in my past. 303Illmagination does not discriminate when it comes to success.  Use your god given talents, and let no one stop you from being the best or whatever it is that you want to do in life. And should you feel that the odds are against you, call upon the spirit we all have.  It always helps me to see it in a safe space, helps to speak your mind or look for guidance to help stay on your path. 

303Illmagination grieves at the destruction and forces which have set out a path to rob children of our generation and the world it’s precious light. The youth of today do indeed perish due to the lack of knowledge. The issues of violence and war, materialism, ignorance, and anti-intellectualism and narcissism and the quest for money.  Interpretation of respect and racism or all issues which affect youth.These issues are pervasive worldwide, and although they seem like adult problems, they are matters which start in one’s youth, and become diseases of the mind as we get older. It’s not necessarily your fault if some of the parents were not taught how to be good parents, it’s not your fault that some of you were raised by yourselves. It’s not your fault that some of your fathers decided to abandon their responsibilities.  No one on earth got here by accident. There could be more love in a single parent household then one that has four parents. But in raising a child, it’s always good to have both mother and father. Some of these environmental circumstances, breed detrimental outcomes. But no matter how tough your life is or how hard the struggle may be, there’s no excuse for anyone to take the life of another human being, or to be violent towards someone unnecessarily.  

I promise. I learned it wrong somewhere along the way where not seeing the importance of human life, human relations, family, and those things that make the experience on earth worthwhile. If all you get is money it isn’t fulfilling enough. Getting on a path for success will provide riches in return. You should seek to master your craft and art as much as you can. Success requires preparation. Study requires you to read and practice. Learn the difference between real and fake and true and false and commit yourself to your drive and your trade. There is a difference between individuality and authenticity, uniqueness and genuineness. You should celebrate your uniqueness and be authentic and real at all times. You can only be second-best if your being someone else. There’s no one like you on earth. Be who you are, with your tattoos, your mohawk or however you want to express yourself. The key I learned is always being respectful of others, regardless of how a person looks or the color of their skin.

 Respect them for their gifts, their talents and the light that shines from within. It took me a long time to adjust my vision on respect, and it should always be given to people because there’s light within all as well. That light that makes you who you are is also the same within others as they will respect you recognizing that another person has the right to that also.  They have the right to exist on earth just like you do and have the right to live free and think freely just as you do. They don’t have to share the same religion, political ideas, opinions or thoughts about the issues that possibly you believe in. But respect is recognizing that a person has a real right to make a decision for themselves and understand that they are free to do so  as they please so long as their actions don’t harm to the greater good. People are different in by treating others with respect regardless of those differences brings people together.Let’s use a platform to guard this image and let the world see who you are. Demonstrate positive growth and change through art, etc. and be a good example to others. It’s good to dream! It’s OK to aspire to greatness! Having goals and achieving them will build your character.  It’s my dream that every child will one day be able to think creatively and freely engaging in ideas that lead to a better safer world. 

Here’s a poem by Benjamin Elijah Mays entitled: 

                                                      Life is just a Minute

 Life is just a minute, only 60 seconds in it.  Forced upon you, can’t refuse it, didn’t seek it didn’t choose it, but it’s up to you to use it. 

You must suffer if you lose it, give account if you abuse it. 

Just a tiny little minute but eternity is in it! 

Walk in the light ?