It changed my life by teaching me to think about meanings.
As with most of you on this day, I look back to the place I was ten years ago on 9/11. Its a day that will always weigh heavy on my heart.
Many of us will never understand the reason for these inhumane selfish acts of violence or how people can feel that its their place to inflict violence on anyone else’s life let alone the lives of millions of innocent people.
On that day, I was at school in NJ about 40 mins outside of NYC. When news spread about the first plane, I was outside of my art teacher Mrs. Weingartens room and saw her frantically trying to get in contact with her husband Michael, who worked in the city while turning on the TV only to find out the other tower had been attacked. I spent the rest of the day in that classroom with her watching the news trying to figure out what was going on.
Luckily her husband was okay, but the feeling of loss, helplessness, confusion and sorrow still consumed us for the hours, days, weeks and months following the disasters. In the days after, a sense of gloom and sadness along with a new appreciation for life and patriotism for many took over.
I spent the majority of the following days in the art studio with Mrs. Weingarten not really knowing what to make of the events. As a means of coping or possibly just a means of release, I decided to create a piece of work that translated some of the feelings or emotions I was feeling.
While it has no measure on what actually happened that day in September, I learned more about art, expression, meaning and life in general from working on that piece than I had from any other project to this day.
It changed my life by teaching me to think about meanings. Meaning in you work, meaning in your content, meaning in your relationships and most of all meaning in your life. You see, Mrs. Weingarten taught me to express meaning in my decisions through art, but ended up effecting my life out side of it as well.
By breaking down all the emotions, symbols and thoughts running through my head, I learned how to communicate all of these meanings cohesively in one piece. Ever since I worked on this piece, I have not been able to approach any project or situation without this mentality which molded not only my work, but the man I have become.
Mrs. Weingarten passed away 3 years later, and although I wish the events of 9/11 had never happened, I will forever be thankful for the time spent with Mrs. Weingarten during and after the events and the effect it had on my life. She managed to take a tragic situation and emotional time for everyone and change a young kids life positively in response.
Now 10 years later, while we look back on the strength of our nation to overcome and remember those who were lost, I also remember a great women, teacher and mentor.