Siam Cameron kicks of f the first of the Westies at Home category. Siam invited me to come and see some of his art and explained to me how he started drawing and what it has meant to his life. Looking at his work you would never believe he only started drawing eight months ago! I can’t wait to see what the next eights months has install for Siam.
I started drawing because I needed to do something for myself. I needed to self express and drawing was the first thing that popped into my head. Before drawing I was never really into anything, I didn’t have any hobbies. I used to have hobbies when I was younger but after I turned 18 I lost my way. I used to play guitar but I sold all my gear and then I didn’t start drawing until now, at 27. It’s been the best thing that I did.
I wasn’t in a great place for a very, very long time. I used to play sport and I had inspiration when I was younger. I used to play football, skateboard and play guitar but then I started getting depressed and I lost myself. I lost passion. I lost inspiration. I had no direction. I don’t think it’s lazy. I think a lot of people misinterpret that as being lazy and it’s not lazy. It’s not knowing yourself. It’s not knowing what you are doing. Depression for me was a silent war. It’s something that not many people know of, it’s battling those demons that are in your head. And you are stuck in a prison in your mind.
The fact that I used to have severe eczema also played a huge part with my depression. Not being confident inside and then having rashes all over your face, it was like being tortured. People complain about having severe sunburn, this was like that with a really bad itch. I stopped having showers at one stage because it stung so much.
I then started getting tattoos at 21 to see what the pain was like and I was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as having eczema – that stung more then getting a tattoo. I’d get itchy when I sweat so I didn’t exercise because the last thing that you want to do when you have eczema is be itchy. So you try to get out of things that you know would make you itchy – I was head to toe in eczema. I had a shaved head because I had really bad dandruff and I couldn’t find any shampoos to help it. I couldn’t wear black for a long time because of the dead skin. I was just scared of going out in public and people judging me. I used to get people randomly saying “why are you so sunburnt?”, “Gee, you’re sunburnt”. Little things like that added up to why I was stuck in my room not wanting to do anything. That’s depression and that’s why I started drawing. I was fed up with it all.
I had one night last year that changed me. It was to do with friendships and all these different things tied up all into the one night and it was pretty much the worst night of my life. I remember all of these terrible things happening and I couldn’t work out why. I was such a depressed person and the last thing you want is all these bad things to happen to you. When you are depressed you acknowledge negativity and when you do get a blessing you can’t see it. Now it’s completely reversed – when anything happens I am completely appreciative of it. I think that one night was a big lesson in my life and it was a sign for me to change. I remember going home and speaking to a friend from 1am to 5am and he just spoke to me and gave me a hard talk and I remember breaking down and telling myself I have to change. I was walking home from the station saying to myself “I have to change, I have to change” When you aren’t confident and you don’t know yourself you mix in with the wrong type of people and you get caught up in the the wrong type of things, but being where I am at now, I can see someone who is shallow, I can see someone who is dodgy. It is so clear to me now. Where before it wasn’t because my mind was clouded, all the bitterness was choking me up. I like to think of it as I was asleep this whole time I was on this earth. All that bitterness as bad as it was to go through, has made me what I am now. I was meant to go through that to have empathy, and by that happening, I actually think it was good when looking back on it.
Advice to anyone suffering from depression:
Do something simple like writing a list out of things you like – It could be anything. You can do anything! Ok, you can’t grow wings and fly but you can do a lot of things. It’s all to do with passion and everyone has a hidden talent. I could have 10 more talents but I won’t know if I don’t try and I like to think you are rewarded when you maintain a positive outlook. New opportunities come and you will be surprised – you might pick up a new passion out of nowhere.
The thing that has helped me is self expression – it is key. I was stuck in that funk and all I needed to do was express the feelings that I had inside. That is all I needed to do. I was writing myself off with all of the self doubt. Nothing happened and nothing was going to happen because I didn’t give myself a chance and then I had that bad night and I realised I had to change. I had to acknowledge that I didn’t like myself and I didn’t like the world. Whatever medium it is, you have to find that one that’s just for you because once you start self expressing you will be surprised what it does for you in a non material way. Art has taught me to express and learn about myself and to explore everything I can. A visual artist is who I am. It’s showing the world that this is me and it’s a humbling feeling to be able to have something that only you have created. It’s a special feeling. It’s not money, it’s not having $100 in your hand. It’s a different feeling that’s 10x better. Money does help because then I can go to the art shop and buy a lot of art gear, which is why I want to sell prints.
Drawing switched a light bulb on in my head and I’ve learnt a lot about myself. I learnt a lot about life, about people, and I’ve learnt to appreciate life. I have also developed a better character, I’ve become so passionate and driven and I like to share the knowledge that I have. I think I was smart going through school, but because I wasn’t inspired, I never used. It was always there and I just didn’t pick up on it. I have definitely become a better friend, a better brother, a better uncle, a better everything because of these experiences. I now know what I am about and I have pure, honest, good intentions, I’m humble and I have found that passion in life.
You can follow Siam’s work here: http://onesidebad.bigcartel.com/
Interview: Katrina James
Photos: Katrina James