The piece “Escape” by Maya Halko, which appears in the 2017 print edition, always strikes me. Every time I come across it, I find something new that I hadn’t noticed before. I am mesmerized by the flow of the lines and the simplistic black and grey coloring. The fish placed in the bowl rather than another astronaut pulls the whole piece together.
When I look at the piece through my writer’s lens I don’t just see art; I see the story that is being told and I understand it. The intricate detail put into this piece is like every detail I do and do not choose to put in to my poems. I think to myself, “What will really say what I mean?” That is, in my opinion, what makes a piece strong: the details used to add another layer of complexity to the concepts or ideas being represented. What will strike an emotion action out of my readers? Although I am not exactly sure what I feel when I look at this piece, it is so awing that I feel a lot, particularly in my chest.
When I look at this piece, all I want to do is write.
It is ironic because there are often times when I feel like I need to escape or get away and I turn to writing, but I never know what to do when I need to escape or get away from writing. This piece reminds me of moments like those. When the words are not coming how I want them to and when the emotions are so powerful that my poem turns out emotionless. I did not clearly understand this the first time I flipped through the 2017 print book and saw this piece of art. I was mesmerized but I did not understand. The emotion came sometime after I was able to swallow and take in what was going on. Writing is the same in that sense. We want our readers to feel first. Then, after that, they are allowed to understand what they feel and how we were able to make them feel it. As artist, we like to twist our audience’s emotions. We say, “I get to make you feel and there is nothing you can do about it.”
In connection to Elan, “Escape” represents the power art holds. Whether it is a paint brush or a pen, we own the right to mark our place on this earth. When I think about the work and purpose Elan stands for, I always think of the same thing first: we are here to give artist a voice. We open up our doors for artist and offer a home for their work that allows, not only for others to be able to acknowledge their gift but also, for someone to look at their art or read their piece and be changed by it. That is our power as artist.
– Lex Hamilton, Co-Marketing/Social Media Editor