Finding The Light
An insightful, artistic micro documentary by Lucian Vasile & Emily Howard
Having an anxiety disorder is something that I always used to hide, but now I’m so much more open to sharing about it. It's part of me that will never go away. I’ve learned to dance with it. Part of how I cope is through meditation - not in the traditional sense, but in the meditative state that creating beautiful imagery brings. As I watched the people I love walk through their darkest nights and I didn’t have the ability to save them, I try to be a lighthouse for those others who are lost in the dark. I hope little glimpses of light can be seen in work I have made and reach people who need it.
I started my journey as an artist just like every other child, with crayons and markers. I always found such comfort in colouring and sketching. Naturally I moved on to watercolour paints on paper and then to acrylic on canvas. That’s where I felt the most at home. Still now, hearing the paint move across the tooth of a canvas with my palette knife instantly relaxes my shoulders and all thoughts just drift away.
I had been a professional artist for many years before something happened that would forever alter my world. I lost my sister.
Tragedy has a way of giving you a clear perspective of what matters in life. All within an instant, pointless worries, fears and empty goals just vanish. You not longer care about the size of your house or how many times you went to the gym that week. All that matters in the end is how much we connected with the people we love.
For me, it was at the easel, in my deep grief, where I learned how to take the weight I was feeling and reshape it onto the canvas. I learned that I can take a heavy emotion and shine light on it, allow it to float for a while, then let the altered energy of that emotion dry into the paint. I had spent so many years painting in my teens and 20’s attempting to ease my anxiety which at times was debilitating. It wasn’t until my journey through grief that I realized just how powerful, my daily painting practice was for my mental health. Over the years since, this has been my unfailing approach to my work as an artist and ultimately, to healing myself.
The only way I am able to portray light in my work is because I have witnessed the darkness. Not a star in the sky. Anyone who has been through a dark night knows that even the smallest light at first can be blinding. Slowly your eyes adjust and before you know it there’s more and more light appearing around you.
Because I have watched people I love walk through the darkest of nights and couldn’t guide them out, I now try to be a lighthouse for those who are lost in the dark. I hope little glimpses of light can be seen in work I have created and reach the people who need it most.
My process is so much bigger and longer than the first brush stroke to the last of a piece. I carry all my story with me through everything I create. Each painting has my entire journey in it, right from the crayons and coloring books.
View more from Finding The Light - A vulnerable interview about the why behind the film and a glimpse into the life of the artist.
Lucian Vasile, photographer, videographer, and visual artist, was born and raised in Romania. Originally with a theology background, he began experimenting with photography in his teens, leading him to have showings at local art galleries at 20.
Inspired by the surrealist photos of Dave Hill, he began experimenting with photo editing and all kinds of mixed visual media, which also led him to videography.
Lucian’s work is impactful, and sympathetic to its subject. He has a penchant for creating dramatic images which nevertheless speak to the heart. He has shot, filmed, and created content for many talented and wonderful people. He enjoys working in documentary style, and working with other creatives.
He currently lives in PEI with his wife, three kids and pet bunny.