I started painting in December after the untimely passing of a friend. My last conversation with Brian Sleet was about what outlets I had to manage stress if I decided to run for office in the future. He asked me what I liked to do other than basketball (because at my age, my knees can’t take that every day). I said, “when I was in high school, I loved to draw and paint.” He said very simply, “well, paint.” We’d discussed the fact that both of us had worked quite a bit, and neither one of us had taken a real vacation (where we left a laptop at home) in a long time. His words resonated with me hours after I found out about his death, so I went in my closet and got out a canvas and some paint I’d bought a year prior, and I started painting. Since then, I’ve probably painted and sold over 60 original pieces, and I have shipped over 300 prints to 4 continents and nine countries since April. It has become my most significant outlet and has brought me immense peace.
Whatever the thing is that brings you peace & harmony, please do it! Being mindful of your mental and spiritual health is as critical as your physical well being. So I encourage you to find your thing & thank you, Brian, for helping me unlock mine.
Jeff Beckham is an acrylic artist and community leader who serves as Interim CEO for Chicago Scholars, a non-profit that helps low-income and first-generation students in Chicago.