Promoting Passion Week 24: To Dust

Promoting Passion Week 24: To Dust

There are moments in our lives that define us and shape who we will become. Sometimes distance is the best way to see those moments clearly, and others are profound enough to stop us in our tracks and make us change right then and there. I have had many of these defining moments thus far.

Listening to a certain song in my husband’s car the first day we met.

Chasing hot air balloons with my mom through the countryside.

Walking through a pitch black underground cave with my sister.

Quitting my job to pursue art full time.

There is one more that stands out that reveals much about my fascination with darkness. It is the story of when my cat died in my arms, and the beauty I felt upon feeling her life leave her body.

We all have inspirations and passions in this world. My own passions have been called creepy, distasteful, and inappropriate because of my love for all things dark. But nonetheless they press on in my mind, and I share them with whomever will watch, because I believe in the power of passion. I believe that one passionate soul can inspire another. To be wholly yourself and embrace your inspiration is to live a life of freedom and beauty.

Never be ashamed of what excites you. Be yourself, and others will respect you for it. Shout your passion to the world and someone will respond.

What moments have defined you? What are your passions?

Brooke Shaden

Brooke Shaden

A few days ago I was in Miami, Florida and I happened upon the Bass Musuem of Art. I wandered inside and asked the woman at the front desk what exhibits were up. She said that they had one inspired by death and fashion, and I immediately bought tickets. I was not at all disappointed, and drew inspiration from almost every piece of art I saw there.

I was reminded of how much I love death, dying, and the art of living. One piece in particular there featured an explosion (fog, flowers, debris, etc.) and my image is inspired by that as well as the show as a whole. If you get a chance to see it, definitely do. You will not at all be disappointed!

This is the piece I took inspiration from created by Ori Gersht courtesy of the CRG Gallery in New York.
This is the piece I took inspiration from created by Ori Gersht courtesy of the CRG Gallery in New York.



13 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Week 24: To Dust

  1. Ah Brooke… so many tears with this post <3
    Having someone die in your arms is an incredibly sad experience, yet it is also such an honour. When this happened to me last year when my brother died, I was so scared to know I would need to go through that, but yet so beautiful and peaceful to have had that humbling experience… My father also passed away earlier last year suddenly in hospital and we were not with him… it is something that pains me more that I can express that he had to die alone…
    A beautiful image Brooke. I love the tones and how you overlaid the flowers. Thank you for reminding me today how precious life is…

  2. DOH!! My eyes are welling up. I remember the first time having to take a pet to be put down and it was just the most horrible thing for me because I loved animals so incredibly when I was a kid (and still do) – I was too young to understand that they can’t always make them better and that pets have much short lives than we do. A tough pill to swallow as a kid. I honestly have no idea what moments have defined me. I kind of just roll with what life hands me – and believe you me its handed me a lot. I guess I am defined by my ability to just cope with stuff and not allow myself to be defeated not matter what. I have a tenacity and determination not to be beaten, Granted its made me a little rough around the edges, but I am working on that 🙂

  3. This is very touching Brooke … I had to also put down my dog and it was a very painful time to do and watch her die.. 🙁 I been here and there struggling in finishing up my own projects this summer bcs I loose that passion and strive but after this it sure makes me feel that I need to keep pushing and do the things I love for that feeling to come out to show the world and myself what I can do. Always so inspiring thank u for sharing a lil piece of your heart 🙂

  4. I think it’s important to discern “dark” from “evil”. That’s tough for some people. Even myself. When I hear “dark” in a certain context I immediately think of the polar opposite of you as a person and for that matter your art. It is dark but done in such a way as through innocent or curious eyes. More voyeuristic if you will. I get a beautiful feel from your art as opposed to feeling uncomfortable or scary.

  5. Tears… <3 It is hard to lose a pet, like a friend or relative… My previous German shepherd died in my arms…I won`t ever forget that. We had decided to put him down at the vet on the next day, he was very sick. But even he was in my arms and going away, he tried to fight back and looked me in to my eyes, and I said to him "my love, you can go" and then he took his last breath and slept away… that must be the hardest thing I have ever said to anyone… letting go is not really easy thing to do.

    I do not know exact moments which defined me, but I guess all the life experiences all together…

    thanks you for sharing your story with us again and have a beautiful week <3

  6. Brooke, you placed a tear in the corner of my eye… Last year, my dog, who was one of the my best friends and company for 12 years, died in my arms. It was a powerful moment for me, because in those last minutes of her life, we look at each other deeply and felt an instant joy. At that moment I remembered all the happy times we had together and I felt that she gone too happy. Before her last breath, I tried to thank her (now I’m crying), through my eyes, for all the love she gave me. And for her last look, I know she realized it. I miss her… Before finding out that my passion for photography, I started to drawing houses plans. Whenever I went with my parents to visit their friends or family, the next day I drew the houses plans. Then, while reading a book of poetry that I loved and along with my first crushes on girls, I started writing poetry. So I started studying arts and I met a teacher who led me to paint in oils. These moments defined me as an artist and a creative person. But one day I had to take photos for a school project and i liked it so much to do, that I realized that was what I wanted to do. And I did it with my dog (Sheila)

  7. Brooke, i told you before and i’ll tell you again – i don’t know how or why…but your posts line up with my life almost to the day.

    We (the Deep Ellum arts community) lost 2 souls to suicide and 1 to a heart condition this week. I was reflecting on the moments I had met one of the guys…and the impressions I had of him…and his rocking mohawk and willingness to serve artists. He, like most of us had the dark side. I had this odd way of dealing with death…knowing that i MUST mourn them….but also be ok that they are gone and not coming back. I have to cry and get the feelings out, but once they are OUT…it is a freedom to keep living and going forward. I found that most ppl that have left us would WANT us to go on. It has just been a trying week….and for once I felt like I could contribute to a community in a way that would help us all heal. I made a slideshow of as many pictures as I could find and get of him….and we played it yesterday. Some brought forth tears, others, laughter. I just hope that everyone could heal from this…and grieve. <3 All the best to you. <3

  8. Such a beautiful and meaningful message Brooke, thank you! Also your perspective on death was really touching for me personally right now, so I really appreciate that mind-opening thought.

  9. This is really amazing Brooke. I (frantically knocking on wood) have had very little experience with death so your experience and reflections on death are so fascinating to me. I am, for lack of a better term, the polar opposite to you in the sense that what I am attracted to the most is light. It’s very prevalent in my photography and my life in general. I live for the light,the sun, the magic but I’ve oftentimes felt that this makes my art less interesting, even trivial, because there is no mystery and no drama in light. But like you said , I guess it’s all a matter of perspective and I should not be ashamed of my passion. Thank you for your wonderful words and art.

  10. Thank you, not only for your art, but also for your gift of letting people explore themselves and show them how to find the beauty and the best within.

  11. I really like your take on death here. We tend to see it as something so negative, why not be grateful that we had at least the opportunity meet? Moments that defined me… backpaking throught South America with my Little brother…really changed my life and world views. Passions…people … and food

  12. WOW! All I can say is that I still have goosebumps all over my body! I am so glad I have read and listened to this post. It reminded of how passionate I used to be and of my search for knowing what happens after death. It’s so beautiful to know what your feelings were when your cat died. …and I feel weird even writing that and rereading it… but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    This also reminds me of my husband’s take on death. He never cries or even gets sad when someone dies. He gets happy for them because they are now at a better place… they did what they came to do and it’s now time for them to leave…

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