During the summer and spring of 2019, I was struggling a lot with my mental health. I guess that since I was in such a low place, it didn't take too much for something to seem like a sign, so when large groups of cicadas and other bugs started gathering daily on the brick wall outside my apartment, I took it personally.
I spent a lot of my evenings outside on my little stoop, where I would watch random insects crawl around on the wall of my building, chasing after the large artificial light atop the wall. At first it was one or two cicadas and a couple other bugs, then more cicadas came all at once, and then two or three praying mantises at once, and others. The more that came, the more I sat outside and watched them. I would come home ready to have a rest and bask in the cool of the day, ready to watch these strange creatures gather with each other.
I knew that it was a stretch, but I couldn't help but feel blessed by their presence. Cicadas are a symbol of rebirth, change, good luck. Praying mantises are a symbol of stillness and patience. I had never seen so many cicadas or mantises all at once, together. I had only seen a handful of praying mantises in my whole life before that summer, so I couldn't shake the feeling that it all meant something. I knew that I needed a change, that to live was to change, but that change didn't happen overnight, so I also needed patience, and stillness; reflection.
So the cicadas and praying mantises helped me get through a hard time. Thus, the creation of the painting, "Life After Death."
side note: I collected a few cicadas after they died, and used one of them as reference while painting this piece. In this way, I gave them "life" after "death" since their lives will be carried on forever through this painting. In another sense, the cicadas gave me some life when I needed it most, when I felt so hollow that I almost felt dead. I thought Life After Death was a pretty solid title for this painting/experience.