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If someone asked me what drives me to paint, it would probably take a while to get me to start talking. But after I start, it would be difficult to get me to stop. I love painting. Every piece reflects something that I feel inside, something that I hope for, something that I dream about, or even something that I fear. Beauty, ugliness, love, hatred, power, and weakness; light and dark. Implicitly, there is always a struggle. In my own life, I struggle with dissociative identity disorder, and have what often seems like a rather chaotic existence. On the canvas, life turns out the way it should be. 

My pieces always reflect the struggle between light and dark. Although I suppose it is always the case that in life, the struggle always continues, on the canvas, the conflict is resolved, and each piece is a victory. Bringing out what is inside, there are times I even feel that painting allows this victory to become a reality. Nothing exists until it exists on a canvas.

As an adolescent, I grew up in Central New York, and learned to paint starting in high school. After high school, however, I stopped painting when I went to University of California Berkeley to study mathematics. I graduated from an undergraduate program in 2004 in pure mathematics. After undergrad, I moved to Japan for 6 months, working for the National Institute of Genomics. I then returned to the States, studying computational biology in graduate school at Duke University. I graduated in 2010 with a PhD from the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics program. I then worked as a postdoc both in Denver, Colorado, as well as University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. It was during this time that my dissociative identity disorder transpired. I stopped going to work, and soon became homeless. I was homeless in Urbana-Champaign for a couple of years. Eventually, I returned to the university, working in IT for about a year. Eventually, my dissociative identity disorder became a concern, and I moved up to Evanston to receive treatment. I am now writing a probability and statistics book, and work as a professional artist.

My Strength and My Weakness by Ken Daigoro Yokoyama


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