This is a story of redemption. Of how one man finally gave way to the force of the death drive to be reborn with purpose based in passion. Being an empathic person can be exhausting and overwhelming. In this culture we’ve elevated reason and thinking and denigrated feelings so we’ve lost a lot of our natural abilities. Some people are still extreme sensitives when it comes to feeling emotions. As you can imagine this can get overwhelming. When you don’t understand what is happening or how to manage the experience this becomes a great weight rather than the gift it ultimately can be. In our modern world, it’s easy for a young man to get lost and hard to find himself. This is that story.
From an early age Jimi had an innate curiosity coupled with a core desire to create. This was his identity. Being an introvert Jimi observed people intently to understand them better. He would take things apart and rebuild them just to see how they worked. Math and Science came naturally to him, but school wasn’t his strong suit. Not feeling accepted or understood and being a headstrong teenager, he took what he calls a “hiatus from life”. Looking back, he can see much of this was a reaction to the underlying core issues from his childhood and his ambivalence about his own self-worth as people get measured in our society. He tried anything and everything to numb out this core existential pain. Drugs, alcohol, partying, sex, acting out without regard to his own wellbeing or for the impact on those around him. When you don’t feel that you matter or that you belong you might have the same attitude: burn it all down. Jimi proceeded to take it to the bottom and found himself addicted to heroin, shooting up to numb out the underlying emotional pain.
The call to create continued to simmer even beneath the outward destruction of his life. He happened to see a commercial for the Art Institute and decided he might like to become a designer. This evolved from making graphics and ads to designing tools and processes to simplify the human experience. Jimi found he had a unique ability to combine the creative with the logistical – how things work. He spent countless hours interviewing people, facilitating workshops, and trying to understand the psychology behind what makes people tick. What he discovered was that feelings are what guide most decisions. Jimi happens to be an INFP – the natural empath – they feel other people’s emotions in a tangible way. They easily absorb them as well if they haven’t been taught to set healthy boundaries or if they don’t realize what is actually happening. This readily explains why he spent so much of his early life avoiding and self-medicating all the feelings that were such a constant presence. Overwhelming. The addictions and isolation were the moments of temporary relief. Coping mechanisms that became maladaptive behaviors over time.
Eventually things catch up. Eventually things go sideways. Eventually it falls apart. There is only so long and so much one person can contain before they can’t handle it anymore. The death drive once again came knocking. In an attempt to end his own life, he injected almost 20 times the normal dose of narcotics. The attempt would leave Jimi convulsing on his garage floor near death seeing it all happen. Everything. Up close and personal he saw the struggle pushing and pulling him from this physical existence into the spiritual realm. The pull back to his physical body won out and he woke up in the hospital with a full memory of everything that transpired even though to the medical team he wasn’t awake or aware.
Near-death experiences can be life changing. Well this got Jimi’s attention. He was determined to let go of the compulsion for financial success – an addiction really – and find what purpose he is still alive for. To find where he would find emotional meaning, his passion. He now knew two things he actually needed other people and he wanted to create.
Paint reveals on the surface what is happening inside. Creating art is now what keeps Jimi sane in the craziness of our culture. He learned that he no longer has to keep feelings bottled up as his personal perception shifts to make room for his expression. Painting has become as necessary to him as air, food and water. It’s his constant reminder to stay in the present and go with the flow. It allows him to give expression to the things he doesn’t have words for, and has taught him to stop hiding who he is, who “Jimi” is at his core, and to step beyond the fear of rejection. There are layers above and below; there is always something more than meets the eye. Jimi paints so that the eye can see what the inner eye knows. Each piece tells a story, provides release, and allows him to process emotions.
Just as you might not know it just by looking at Jimi, nothing exists as it appears. You wouldn’t begin to fathom how he actually got to where he is today, through the darkness and destruction to creativity and connection. So, with his art. The flow of paint is informed by feelings and experiences, intentions, and the will of the Universe. Using colors and motion…” What gives him the most inspiration is observing how people react to his art. Most will see various objects, people or animals in his work. Jimi likes people to interpret his art in their own way because, at an emotional level, everyone sees different things that come through that connect to them as an individual. In the end Jimi’s art is redemptive. His own ongoing reclamation of himself, but also a redemptive payment towards facilitating the experience of others. Jimi’s work offers a space that allows the art to speak to the soul. Emotionally. A conduit of connection to themselves and their own inner world of meaning and purpose.