I asked Juneau residents of differing ages, backgrounds and personalities to give their thoughts on the pros and cons of keeping, carrying and sharing secrets. When do we hold too much in? When do we talk more than we should? How well do we know each other?
Creating a body of art as I explore an idea provides insight into myself and the people around me. The process of making art is very personal for me, but it is also a celebration of people and place. I believe that art starts conversations, and I am interested in building community through expression. Thank you to the people who agreed to be interviewed and sketched for this show. I enjoyed getting to know each of you a little bit better.
Drawings in this series are all 3'x3' charcoal on paper.
“There’s a moment, as a radiology technologist, when you see something; know this is a turning point. You can’t show it or talk about it. Just knowing.”
Sue Ann Randall
“Good secrets have a way of letting themselves out. They get unwrapped like birthdays and happy surprises. Other secrets fill you up if you keep them too long. They whisper and seep like steam and the pressure increases if you bottle them up. Getting rid of them is a process. Secrets: the more you know…”
“People know that I care, that I’ll go the extra mile for others. I take one step at a time up the mountain. I’ll help others reach their goals. I’ve had my secrets. I help others go places, like the song ‘flying high, like the eagle’.”
"I like to talk about my mother’s death, because if I don’t, it’s like a brick wall holding my shoulders down. When I was 8 years old, my mother was shot in Anchorage in a gang shooting. She died in my arms with 15 wounds from an AK47. That’s pretty much it.
Weighing you down."
"I was diagnosed with cancer in August 2013. It was a real wake-up call. The hardest part was finding a way to tell my daughter. She’s so far away, how do I do this? The counselor offered to help me, but I realized that this is really about me being comfortable enough to tell her.
I feel much more at ease now, so I don’t have to worry about that."
Ryan Cortés Pérez
“Secrets that make you afraid to accept yourself grow into fears that are crippling. A friend of mine nailed it when he said ‘How can you be so upbeat all the time? You must have something heavy inside.’ He was right. There are those dual opposing forces, like the tide. Don’t fight it. I choose to face my fears by making something positive. I don’t let them hold me back.”
"I came out at age 14 to my Pentecostal family. I knew it was toxic to me to keep the secret; I need to be able to love and share who I am."
"I hold dear to dreams, because I know they’re going to come true. I cherish the moment. I don’t always know what specifically is going to come, but my mind is already where I want to be. I believe."
"I grew up with an extremely religious mother. My earliest memories are of things I wouldn’t or couldn’t tell her. My father was a career military man. He never talked about it; he was the model of secrecy. I was in the service, too, and I’ve learned that Secrets for veterans can be dark. We try to protect our loved ones; we try to project the best image of ourselves."
"I don’t identify as having secrets. I had a secret; I’m transgender. I kept it secret for 7 years, but when I decided to transition I needed to tell my family, so I wrote a book and illustrated it with stock photos.
I don’t have secrets because there aren’t things I need to tell people. People who are popular tend to wear their feelings on their sleeves, but I don’t feel closer to someone just because they tell me a secret. I don’t subscribe to the social currency of secrets. It’s an economy I don’t take part in."
"When I was younger, secrets were fun. They meant gossip. I really didn’t have any good ones then! They’re more serious now. Heavier. Harder to hold. Do I want secrets? Well, they’re part of life. Secrets relate to trust and the fear of how someone else may handle hearing them."
“In a spiritual sense, confessions let you off the hook, but maybe we should never feel better about some things? People need an ear, but what happens to the person who is left carrying the secrets of others? The weight of one butterfly on my heart is nothing, but the weight of a thousand is too many to bear.”
Kiana Potter & Melissa Griffiths
Kiana- "It feels light to tell a secret, like a surprise party! Good secrets are like little bugs, pretty colors."
Melissa- "People tell me secrets all the time, and I work for a newspaper! I am very respectful of secrets, and keep them locked up tight- some things stay off the record."
“Precious. Beautiful. Family. Like I’m holding my daughter when she was a baby.”
"When someone tells me a secret, they are investing their trust. I’m the bank, the protector. I pay back the loan by being a friend you can count on. Like gold nuggets, secrets take on all different shapes."
“Is when you can’t tell other people, you have to tell just one people.”