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An Imperfect Impromptu; My Artistic Journey Begins

I was suffering from a deep and dark depression for about ten years. I had gone through several medications and had gone to therapists and doctors trying to make it right. I hated myself, my body, my weird thoughts, and where I was in certain aspects of my life. I was working jobs that I hated because I didn’t think I was good enough for anything that I really had an interest in and didn’t know what genre to jump into. There were too many things I wanted to do, so I did nothing. I worked survival jobs, I daydreamed and slept a lot. I would hang out with people and talk big ideas, but never do anything about them. I would get angry at myself for missing opportunities to work on my skills or not practicing. I was very busy, but with the wrong things.

I had some good therapists and doctors along the way, but I was also very discouraged by some. I felt like the medicine I was on was blocking the creative energy in me. I didn’t feel like myself. I went to see a neurologist and I didn’t feel like he or his assistants were really listening to what I had to say and were just trying to prescribe me pills. When I had questioned him about side effects for one of these drugs, he just said, “Oh it’s fine, I prescribe it to everyone.” I just went with it, took the medication and became a totally different person. That medicine turned me into the manic depressive that I never was. It was awful. Luckily, my insurance stopped working with him and I saw another neurologist who actually listened to me. We tried something else, which turned me into a complete emotionless zombie. I told this to the doctor and we went back to a lower dose of what I was originally on before this whole mess. I sort of felt better, and I did have a little burst of creativity, but I hated taking the pills and I still got depressed and anxious.

Later, I went to see a psychiatrist at the clinic where I had therapy. He asked me questions that I kept answering incorrectly for ten minutes and then prescribed me something for anxiety. He told me to take it when I needed it. I was anxious every morning, but I didn’t trust it. I did try it a few times, but it wasn’t enough to see a difference.

I had two wonderful therapists in a row who listened to me and actually really helped me feel better and conquer some of my inner doubts, but they both ended up switching jobs and I had to move on to other people. I gave the next woman a chance for a year, but I should have gone with my gut from the beginning. I felt like she was judging me, I hated crying in front of her and she just wasn’t as receptive as the previous two.

During my time with her, I had spoken to my neurologist again and he said that I could stop taking the pills if I wanted to, and I did. I had been on depression medicine for almost 15 years and I was still depressed and anxious. I wanted to meet the real Amy. That was a journey of ups and downs as well, but I didn’t want the medicine again, because I realized that I felt the same feelings when I was on it.

My therapist kept wanting me to go to the psychiatrist again to prescribe more medicine. I told her about what happened the last time with him, and she said she would go with me to the appointment. I just didn’t trust either of them.

I was beginning to feel better on my own. I was letting people in and fitting in more of what I loved doing with my survival jobs, but I was still hiding my real self most of the time. I had a job at a float center in Brooklyn and had an amazing experience in the tank. That’s one of the few places that I can just turn my brain off, even if it takes me a little bit of time to get into it. No sight, no sound and the sensation of no sensation. Pure bliss. I realized that I was afraid of my emotions. I had been told for years that I was manic depressive and bipolar, even though I didn’t quite feel I fit the written symptoms. I just accepted that I had it and the medicine had been making it better. But it wasn’t. When I was in that float tank, I realized that my mind is just a never ending idea spouting machine. Not every one is a good idea, but why not get inspired by things? I had been afraid to write my ideas, afraid to practice singing and piano because it wasn’t perfect, afraid to draw because nothing would be good enough. For who? They wouldn’t be anything but ideas, unless I did something about them.

Slowly, I started to crawl out of my funk. My anxiety attacks lessened, and I began to feel hopeful again. In the process, I broke up with my therapist and thought I didn’t need one for a while. I soon panicked and thought I did and found another woman who I liked at first, but ultimately she told me what a doctor from years ago told me to do, which was to stop leading my crazy artsy life, get a steady job, and talk to the other doctor in the office about medicine. I stopped going back.

I had totally abandoned the crazy wild child that I never used to be and never let grow up. I wasn’t present at some of my jobs because I didn’t feel like I could be myself. I’ve been fired for being weird, not fitting in and had been told my face is either too expressive or not enough. Where was this happy medium that I was missing? I felt fake. I felt that I wasn’t good enough to find a dream job or even be loved. I would be a lazy little bum and procrastinate until work. I was not utilizing my free time and I was angry with myself. I was my own worst enemy and I stopped seeing the good in people, situations and myself.

I was scatterbrained, and the pile of ideas in my head was growing bigger and bigger. I didn’t want to even read or listen to music because I was afraid of the inspiration. I didn’t want to practice because I felt I should be at the level to play what’s in my head by now. It takes work. It takes patience. It takes practice. It takes energy and I was wasting all of it on jobs that did nothing but hurt my soul. I didn’t think I was good enough to make a living at something that I loved to do. I didn’t know my worth.

I was amazed by the success that I saw of my friends. More and more it seemed dreams were coming true for them. As much as I wanted to, I was having trouble feeling happy for them. I know how hard so many of them have worked to get where they are. Everyone deserves a chance at happiness.

I kept waiting for someone to take a chance on me. I then realized that I have to take the chance on me first. I can only get better if I practice every damn day, learn from myself, learn from other people and be able to take constructive criticism like a champ. I didn’t want to be taken over by the fear anymore.

Don’t fear inspiration

Don’t fear success

Don’t fear failure

Don’t fear criticism

Don’t fear imperfection

Don’t fear yourself

Rather, learn from it all.

I thought I was so weird, and you know what? I am; and that’s ok.

I started taking chances. I started writing again. I started playing. I started sharing my work. People who I had been friends with for what seemed like a while now didn’t even know that I sang. People were saying such nice things, even that I was inspiring them, which made me want to create more. I wanted to create with these people. I know artists in every realm and genre all over the world. Everyone I’ve worked with has inspired me to go even further out of the mold that I was trying to fit in.

I started listening to their feedback and sharing with them what they inspired. I reconnected with so many people because I finally had something good to say and was ready to hear what everyone had to say and see what they had to share.

The morning of the body paint jam, there was what seemed like a torrential downpour. I was still so happy that morning. I woke up with a smile on my face from the night before. A friend had encouraged me to sing at a bar for a birthday party. That was the first time I had sung like that in public and played my original songs in about five years. I was inspired by everyone who performed that night and so thankful for being included. Prior to that I had seen my other good friend and her improv troupe. It was a dream of hers that she brought to life.

I walked outside in the pouring rain and just thought to myself, to the tune of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, “It’s a beautiful day for a body paint, a beautiful day for some glitter!” I even ran through the rain at one point and had such an adventure getting to the train!

The energy of the jam was amazing. Nine talented body paint artists, just honing their skills in a professional music studio. Everything about the day was inspiring and encouraging. As soon as Ish brought out his design, I thought I wanted to sing, “Take Me To Church” with it on. I had learned it for the show the night before and thought it would go splendidly with the stained glass design. The words also spoke to me and reminded me of my dear friends. Ish liked the idea, but where would I do it? At the studio or at home with the piano? What if the paint wore off? I decided I wanted to do it at the studio, but was nervous because I know how many takes it took to get a decent take for the other videos. Yes, another blooper video would be funny, (If you haven't seen one, check out my David Bowie Fantastically Failed Attempts) but I knew there wasn’t time. All the models had to use the space as well to get their photos taken and my friend had to be home soon after.

I only had that one shot to record the song. At one point during the song, the studio owner walked in behind Ish and the door closed loudly, or so I thought, but I didn’t hear it on the video. I didn’t stop. I ran out of breath in places and I cracked. I was nervous for so many reasons and it was just a personal project. I had not had a proper warm up for this impromptu performance. I wanted to stop. I can see the moments where I’m having the conversation with fear in my head, but then another voice just jumped in and said, “Fuck it. Just move forward” So I went on and felt the song and sang it to everyone who inspired it.

At the end of the video you can hear the other models and the photographer walk in. Right after we turned the camera off, he yelled, “Let’s take some pictures!” quite loudly. If I had stopped for any one thing, I wouldn’t have been able to get another clean full take. It is not the perfect rendition; but, when I get into it, I love it. I had fun. It was a beautiful day and I helped create art in multiple mediums.

It's an Imperfect Impromptu.

We can’t strive for perfection. Imperfections are what make us unique. Perfection is relative too. What is perfect for you is not perfect for anyone else; the perfect meal, the perfect man, the perfect woman, perfect child, perfect house, perfect day. I’ve even heard people call things better than perfect. It exceeded their expectations that much? Just strive for excellence. Live, practice, create, inspire. If I strived for perfection, I wouldn’t post anything at all. You can excel above excellence, but you can’t perfect perfection.

I’ve learned so much from myself and my friends this month. I feel like I have connected with more people than I did all of last year and maybe longer. I’ve spent days creating art with my friends and I am not afraid to hide my ideas, thoughts and true self anymore. The collaborations are fantastic and can only get better.

This video is, if for nothing else, for me to mark my own progress. For the moment, that was pretty good. I know I can do better, but that was my only shot. As I said, I see the fear in my face but I went on and pushed through the demons in my head. After ten years of telling myself that I wasn’t good enough, I now see how to get better. I can’t wait to see what happens next with my own work and future collaborations. I know I can excel if I let myself.

Art is my sanctuary. I fell in love with it so much that I turned into it.

Don’t be afraid to live your dreams.

Be brave. Be You.

Thank you to all of my friends for being your beautiful, encouraging, inspirational, wacky selves. I love you all!!



Body Paint by Ish Peralta: Instagram @markeup_artish

Photo By Mark Reid: Instagram @markreidart

Photo Editing by Lenore Koppelman: Instagram @the_cheeky_chipmunk

Painted, recorded and Photographed at Fossil Fuel Studios:

Monster Pasties:

Watercolor by Katy Ramirez: Instagram @thewatercolorobsession

Ish Peralta is a makeup artist and body painter who recently relocated to the New York City area from Florida. He's been working in the industry for over three years and is skilled in many aspects of both beauty and effects makeup as well as body art. He takes a lot of inspiration from nature, music and fine art. Visit Ish online at:

Ish’s meaning of it all: This painting was inspired by the beautiful stained glass windows in cathedrals and old gothic structures all over the world. It was originally planned for a male model, but an opportunity came up and I redesigned it to fit a female model. In this case, it was the lovely Amy Hope who, at hearing what my concept was for this paint job, instantly became inspired to sing which only fueled my drive and my artistry. Thus was born this body paint you see before you, which is about a woman who falls in such deep love with a stained glass window, that she slowly starts to become a part of it and it a part of her.

Ish used Wolfe black,as well FAB gold, silver, and copper combined with Mehron Metallic powders to achieve this look.

Model is NOT nude and is adorned with underwear and monster pasties.

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