HIV Awareness: Featuring the work of an artist activist

cungkring.com: Give a little background on who you are as an artist. When did you start to create artwork?
I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta - a city known as the heart of Canadian beef and oil, built in the middle of pastures and the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

I am age admiring graffiti on freight trains and eventually began to participate in this culture. I developed a love for picture taking and focused on the creation of art after my HIV diagnosis.

When were you diagnosed with HIV? How did you and affect your art?
I was diagnosed with HIV in 2009. When I was diagnosed, I emotionally devastated. Leading up to that time, I feel so defeated and broken. I already felt so physically close to death as I weighed the review to end my life.

I remember every moment of the day of my diagnosis until I left the doctor's office. On the back way home from my parents, I do remember the feelings and thoughts, but none of the surrounding sites or sensations.

While in this dark and terrifying headspace, I agreed that if that was my lowest point, I could go in any direction. At the very least, life could not be worse.

As a result, I was able to get out of this darkness. I started to invite a life that seemed to overcome this heavy before.

What brought you to combine your work with messages about HIV?
My own experience to navigate through the challenges as HIV positive, and now as a father, inform much of the work I am inspired to create. My involvement and link with social justice movements also motivates my art.

For a period of time, I was much more comfortable distance myself from talking about HIV in all I would do.

But at some point, I began to explore this malaise. I am testing the limits of my reluctance creating work based on my experiences.

My creative process often involves working in an emotional space and try to determine the best way to represent visually.

What messages do you send to other people living with HIV through your work?
I want to share some of my personal experiences with current nuances of how the frustrations, fears, challenges, and struggle for justice could be relatable, plausible and action.

I guess I am a life filtered through the inevitable goal of AIDS, and systems of our world has created that allow this flower. I saw what I leave behind me in the hope that it can function as a set of tools to understand who I am and how it all fits into the puzzle of our relationship to the other in this life and beyond.

What message would you send to the public about HIV?
We are your friends, neighbors, organizations associated with another benefit of charity, because beribboned original, your lovers, your business, friends with benefits and partners. We are your fight for better health care systems, and removing barriers to access. And your fight for a world built without shame, and instead full of compassion and empathy.

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