Artist: Daniel Jeffers

“As a baby I was abandoned by my mother and made a ward of the State of Florida. At age two and a half I was adopted by a family in California and raised as an only child. My adoptive mother was an artist, but her studio was off limits to me. We lived on a farm , and the influences of dried up dead leaves, spider webs and farm animals allowed my young imagination to grow and flourish, however, I struggled in school and mostly led a lonely existence.

To escape this world, I enlisted in the US Air Force at 19, where I served honorably for over 12 years. In the military, I dealt with loss and trauma every day, and was discharged with PTSD. After leaving I floundered around trying to find some purpose in life. Dealing with the depression of PTSD and the dangerous depths that it took me, I looked for therapy and guidance. I met an amazing VA psychiatrist in Florida, who per chance was also an artist.

It was he who got me, at the age of 40, to pick up my first piece of charcoal and begin to draw! Slowly and begrudgingly I started to make basic shapes and marks, and something extraordinary began to happen. My anxieties lessened, and the awareness of my inner processes became fluid! At last i had a way to communicate my feelings. As I progressed with my work, the VA took notice and offered to send me to some beginning art classes and eventually to art college. I spent four years at the Ringling College of Art & Design, where I flourished and graduated with honors and my BFA!

Within 6 years I had gone from VA PTSD group therapy to graduating from art college and being the first artist accepted to a Vermont Residency while still a Senior at Ringling. Vermont is a residency of 55 artists from around the world who spend a month living together and making art. My work reflects my history and my dreams.”

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© 2019 Suzi K. Edwards.