Tonight’s queer artist feature is Renee Canetta
I have found that words can be useless when trying to describe that feeling I get when I finish a piece of artwork. It's this intangible, magical, and completely unforgettable moment of all-encompassing joy that radiates through my every thought, sometimes for days. I get this bubbly excitement in my stomach and all I can think about is what I will do next. Doing art is pure escapism for me. Feeling like crap? Grab a pencil and draw. Is your heart breaking? Pick up some paint and brush it out of your thoughts. Feeling inadequate? Grab some clay and knead it until your knuckles bleed! Art is therapy, and that is exactly how my healing begins.
I grew up in the Midwest, in the St. Louis Metro area. Throughout my childhood I always felt different. The kind of different that sticks out and is laughed at. I would spend the better part of my childhood desperately looking for someone to understand my brand of weird, while also wishing I could just 'fit in'. By the time I made it to high school, after surviving all the bullying of my younger years, I discovered art. My teacher was exceptional, and taught class in a very open and free way. He allowed complete creativity with no boundaries, and above all, he made us try everything at least once! Finding art when I did helped me escape from those feelings of inadequacy and 'otherness' that bullies had forced me to feel, and more importantly made me realize that 'fitting in' wasn't what I wanted anymore. Art was there to hold my hand, to calm my anxiety, to add focus amidst the chaos. I haven't stopped doing art since.
Now, I am a Registered Nurse working on a busy Stepdown/TCU in St. Louis during a pandemic, and again, art is there to save me. Forever my constant. Forever there and never judging. My nursing career plays a big part in the way I view the world, and I like to use my art to help process that. I use it to express feelings that I'm too scared to show, to express thoughts about life, death, sexuality, womanhood, pain, fear, happiness, and love. To my surprise, throughout my art journey, I have been so lucky to interact with and meet so many people who do resonate with my brand of weird, and in the end, that's all I've ever wanted.