VIVID LOVE

ART BY JULIA BYRD EVANS

Life is full of color. All of the colors of the rainbow in every tint and shade constantly surround us and inspire our imaginations.

After coming out of the darkness, I see color again. This time, much more vibrant and much more alive than before. When I was falling in and out of my dark thoughts, it was hard for me to receive love from anyone. Pushing everyone I cared about away because I felt unlovable. Now I see more clearly and I believe in loving everyone no matter what they’ve done wrong against me. There is something to be loved about everyone.

Life is too short. Way too short to go through it without showing true love towards others and without exploring everything there is to life. Explore all of the colors of the rainbow, mi amici.

BREATHE DEEPLY

f2c4fb_c02892252cf0472b9182f27dce536fe4~mv2PHOTO TAKEN BY ANNA FRANCES EVANS

“Deep breaths, Julia. Deep breaths,” they always told me as I thought my world was coming to an end. Anxiety is not something made up, it’s as real as the tides that are forever changing. Depression and anxiety go hand in hand, one of my many shrinks once told me. “You’re not alone, many people struggle with mental illnesses related to one or the other and sometimes even both.” Both. That word stung me deep in the chest. I am one of those people struggling with “both”.

For a long time, I felt hopeless. I masked my pain and painted on a fake smile to get me through each day. But every morning when I woke up, I could only feel disappointment for the day to come. Me faking it with everyone I know, everyone I cared about. “Fake it until you make it.” That was my everyday motto to get me from sunrise to sunset. But I wasn’t being honest with the world or with myself. It took me sitting in front of the mirror and looking at myself to see how I was not only lying to the world, I was lying to Julia. I was not happy, I was not the spunky Julia that never gives up on her dreams. I was some sort of lifeless creature that managed to walk, talk, and breathe. Breathe deeply as they told me to do every time I was hit with overwhelming thoughts that took hold of my brain. The rainbow prism that once sat within my head was now nothing more than an empty and bottomless pit of darkness. My dreams all crumpled up and burned to ash. Everything that I had once held passion for, all of the sudden did not mean a thing to me. Nothing mattered, no one mattered. To me, I didn’t matter and I felt like I was just taking up space in this world.

But I do matter, as do you. We all matter. We all have a purpose to serve on this planet. It took time and patience with myself to reach a turning point. Slowly, the darkness started seeping away and the colors began to glow once more in my head. My imagination began to run wild again and my dreams swept themselves up from the ashes and encouraged me to push through.

So, here I am. Scars and all. But I am alive and I am breathing deeply everyday with each breath. Because I know that I have a purpose to be alive and a purpose to breath deeply.

RETURNING ALIVE

It’s me, Julia. I’m back.

I’ve been gone for a quite some time, lost in my own head full of monsters. Don’t we all have monsters? Or maybe it’s just me. Either way, my monsters took hold of me and drained all of the energy and life out of my soul. Sounds deep? It is deep, my feelings went deep, my thoughts went deeper. Deeper into the darkness. I couldn’t see a way out, except one way and I knew that I couldn’t let my monsters and the darkness be the death of me. If this is too personal for you to know about me, no one is making you read any further.

I, Julia Evans, am done keeping my secrets within myself and with the world. I’m done hiding my scars and masking my battle. My battle with chronic depression has been a rollercoaster ride that never ends. By rollercoaster, I don’t mean something like Space Mountain at Disney World. I mean one of those death traps at Six Flags that turns your insides out. But through all of the pain and darkness, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and it was coming from something. More like someone.

My faith saved my life. My willingness to never give up, even when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse. Sometimes things do get worse because things can always be worse. I was constantly being slammed by waves of hopelessness in an ocean of doubt. My monsters made me believe things would never get better, that I would always be stuck in the darkness. I was constantly apologizing for “not being Julia” and for being black all over opposed to my usual technicolor self.

After seeking treatment and medical professional help and being put on every anti-depressant you can name, I still felt lost. That is until I came back in contact with my faith.

I am alive, I am still battling my monsters. But they won’t win the war in the barricades of my head because I have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. He is especially fond of me, and guess what? He’s especially fond of you, too.

Get off your computer or whatever device you’re reading this from and run or drive or skip for all I care to the closest book store. Ask for William P. Young’s The Shack and read the whole novel, cover to cover. Thank me later.

KEEP ON PINNING

Every artist has a source they go to for inspiration. With the modern day use of our good friend Google, you don’t always have to stray too far to get the creative juices flowing. Pinterest has become a saving grace during many times of struggling to get what I was imagining in my head into a realistic concept and vision.

Recently, I have been using Pinterest to get ideas of in studio and on location fashion shoot ideas for my final series. Having access to these editorials and the names of the photographers behind these master piece’s has given me additional ideas for my project.

A link to my fashion photography Pinterest board is included below.

Fashion Photography Pinterest board

WILD THINGS

libracatPHOTO TAKEN BY JULIA EVANS

Some people aren’t “animal people”, I am not one of those people.

Throughout my entire life, I have been passionate about animals, wild and domesticated. Ask me what my favorite animal is and I’ll give you three because how could you possibly only have one favorite animal? When it comes to cats and dogs, I’ve usually swayed more on the “I’m a dog person” side of things. But look at me now, the proud owner of a kitten.

Animal photography has always genuinely sparked my interest because working with animals has always been a gift of mine. I grew up riding horses and taking equestrian lessons so I was constantly surrounded with animals at the stables, ranging from all different shapes and sizes. I always imagined myself working with them in one way or another but it wasn’t until I won 3rd place in a state photography contest in middle school that I realized my potential.

My grandparent’s American Cocker Spaniel, Baxter, had a lizard in his mouth with its green tail coming out and what a sight it was to see. So naturally, I snapped a picture and never guessed that it would make it as far as it did in the contest. Perhaps because it was more humorous than aesthetically pleasing. Either way, it became apparent to me that animal photography was a definite interest of mine.

Professionally speaking, I am more intrigued with fashion photography and plan to sculpt my career around the world of fashion. But I plan to further my experience in animal and nature photography with growth because you never know. I might end up with National Geographic one day. Shoot for the stars, miei amici!

PHOTO TAKEN WITH CANON 80D

TOUGH COOKIES

afflowersPHOTO TAKEN BY JULIA EVANS

Life can get the best of you sometimes. Whether it’s just a bad day or getting slapped in the face with a literal series of unfortunate events, life has the capability to strengthen us beyond any other capacity in ways beyond our understanding. Every experience we gain, every hand we shake, every goodbye we say, it’s all part of life. And isn’t it strange to think that as much as we think about our own lives and everyday trials, everyone from your absolute best friend to a stranger you pass on the street lives a completely different life. Only one of its kind.

While going through some of my old pictures, I kept scrolling until I saw something that grabbed my eye immediately. Maybe it’s the way that the peach colored roses seem to pop out of the image itself or maybe it’s the smile that you can see even out of focus. Either way, this picture holds a bigger message.

You can see for yourself that each flower, every single delicate piece of the bouquet, is simply one of its kind. Although each rose is a rose, they each have their own characteristics that make them different from one another. Just like us with our individual lives. We all breathe the same air and live on the same planet but we all are fighting our own battles that help shape us into who we are.

Being a tough cookie doesn’t make you any less of a beautiful flower. Now isn’t that a sentence that I thought I’d never write.

I thought finding yourself was this thing that was supposed to happen in life before you made it into the “real” world. But when does the real world really begin? Truth is, at birth we are already being exposed to the real world. So, you can’t “find” yourself in a year or two by changing your hairstyle and listening to a broader spectrum of music. And traveling the world won’t get you any closer either. Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about letting life find you.

PHOTO TAKEN WITH NIKON D5200

SOUL SISTER

af
PHOTO TAKEN BY JULIA EVANS

Meet Anna Frances Evans. She’s not just my sister, she’s also my best friend.

Ever since we were little girls, we’ve been attached at the hip. Except for when we were fighting over Barbie doll outfits because sharing was never our strong suit. But times have certainly changed, and now we share everything from constant laughs to our entire closets.

But she plays another important role in my life, especially when it comes to both my art and photography. She’s been my muse for as long as I can remember. Part of it could be that she always said yes when I asked her to be my model during our dress up fashion shows. As we grew out of our princess dresses and tiaras stage, I still was always getting my hands on either my video camera or digital camera and using her as my model. Our dress up fashion shoots turned into us going on adventures and looking for new locations for us to turn into our studio.

Once she signed with a modeling agency at 15, it only made things easier for me because I have a trained model to work with just one phone call away. Along with being my go-to model to work with for most of my fashion projects, she also serves as my assistant and is willing to travel with me and be my handy extra set of hands and eyes.

So now you have been introduced to a special piece of my soul, my sister, and get excited because she will continue to be featured.