Michael Carini uses his trauma to create purpose through what he calls Acrylic Alchemy

Turning Trauma Into Purpose: 15 Year Anniversary Of Acrylic Alchemy


Today (April 27th, 2024) marks the 15 year anniversary of the incident that gave birth to Acrylic Alchemy. I'd like to say it feels so far away, and perhaps sometimes it does, but sometimes it also feels like yesterday. I still vividly remember the smells, the sights, the words, the feelings, the chaos. Traumas have a tendency to stick with us, despite our best efforts to let them go. If you're going to carry that weight though, you might as well turn that pain into purpose and have it work for you.

Michael Carini takes his deepest pain and turns it into purpose through paint
Painting sacrificed by fire in transmutation process of Acrylic Alchemy

We can't always control what happens to us, but what we can control is what we choose to do with it. Rather than let a bad situation or isolated incident control me, I decided to make it work for me. I decided to make something bad the basis of years of good that would follow. That is what Acrylic Alchemy is all about. It's about taking your pain and transmuting it into something beautiful, not just for yourself, but everyone. There are people out there that go through bad experiences every single day. There is someone going through one today. There is someone that will go through one tomorrow. By taking these terrible experiences and using them for growth, we can take away their power over us. We may never forget. They may still hurt. They may still resurface some days...but we can make sure that they are resurfacing as beautiful flowers while we use the shit to fertilize them. 

Michael Carini turns his trauma into art
The symbol I saw flashing through my head after my concussion became my signature icon and logo

I discuss this incident in another blog post I did after the 10 year anniversary, and you can read more about it there. I actually ran into the other party, probably a couple years back, in the same location where the incident occurred. We have connected a number of times since that day in 2009, and are on good terms. There is no ill will, no hard feelings, no buried animosity. We are completely cool with each other now and have talked a number of times. He actually has one of the paintings this incident inspired that he got for his daughter. Bad stuff happens sometimes and it's not always as clear as it seems. People make mistakes. People can also forgive. As we forgive and let go, that is how our flowers grow. 

Michael Carini and the art of Acrylic Alchemy
Acrylic Alchemy icons on exhibit at Adelman Fine Art Gallery

I hope to continue using my trauma and experiences to offer something positive for the world. This experience will always be a part of me, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It has made me stronger. It has made me better equipped to deal with other traumas. In 2015, my close friend, Deanne Hastings, disappeared. It is suspected she was murdered, but there have been no answers to date. This past year, I had yet another traumatic brain injury from a car crash. This incident from 2009 served as a reminder that I could choose to be a victim, or I could choose to work with what I have. I could choose to share my story to try to help others that may be struggling and not yet know how to use that pain. I'll be honest, it still hurts some days, all of these things...but knowing I might be helping someone out there, maybe a complete stranger, it makes my pain worth carrying.

That is Acrylic Alchemy

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HERE plus check out these news features on the incident.
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1 comment

Im so glad I saw this about you. Ive followed you, love your work, and now I get it! You are such an inspiration Sir!

Donna S Marshall

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