“Never much thought about being anything you know? We weren't raised that way…” - CJ
CJ, a strong woman who faces life’s struggles seems to stay calm and strong at all times. Growing up with an alcoholic father, she “blended in with the furniture to keep safe.” CJ never put much thought into what she wanted to be as she grew up because “she wasn't raised that way.” Living through her father’s suicide at the young age of 14 and the suicide of her brother impacted her deeply. The saddest moment of her life was the loss of her brother. As CJ said, she felt instant grief and sadness not knowing whether she would see her brother again or not. Although she has had dark days, she also has people and moments that she is grateful for. The most important people to CJ are her wife Diane and her grandma who was her best friend growing up. Her happiest moment is having her three boys. Some advice CJ gave to teens was to “keep your credit as clean as you can because that's what the world runs on”. Growing up with a tough childhood, living through deaths and growing up with with no dreams made CJ’s life difficult but that does not stop her from appreciating the good moments of life and those who she loves. CJ, a woman who's faced challenges in life but still manages to go on from day to day, is one of the strongest people I've met.
Dreams of being – a tattoo artist
Important influence: My Mom
Grateful for: A lot of things like this Art class and Family
Before I volunteered to help our friends in need by using art, I always tried to help because that is how I was raised. However I always held speculations that maybe I was helping their addiction instead of them because of the usual stereotypes held against the homeless. Now, after getting to know a few stories of them, I realize the struggles they go through and that they didn't ask for that life but things that they had no control over; this lead them to where they are. This project made me change the way I think. I know now that everyone, regardless of where they are, needs help from time to time. I was fascinated by the idea of helping out by the way of art, giving someone who is ‘invisible’, a voice. To picture someone whose life has had very little to no color, with eye popping colors and schemes that make them stand out the way they should. Painting CJ is a way of letting people know that there is more to her than neutral colors (black, grey and white). There is life and color within her that we do not take the time to see. FOSA (Faces of Santa Ana) has changed my perspective and helped me grow as a person.