A Vital Attraction

Since I was a child I have always been attracted to art. I’ve always been an introvert, so I found in art a means to express my thoughts and emotions. I could write without having to make sense to anyone, I could draw the things that mattered to me, I could sing with the emotion I felt a song should be sung. Through acting I could express feelings that were difficult and sometimes unexpected for a young Hispanic male to pronounce in the real world; on the theatre stage, I could yell at people and be as malicious as I wanted to.

My attraction for art, also led me to grow as a person. It wasn’t only about what I wanted to express through it, but what it wanted to teach me about life, love, death, heroism, suffering and greatness. Art spoke to me and taught me where to fix my eyes; that is, it taught me to come out of myself and look at life’s bigger picture. Art taught me about history and philosophy, it pointed me towards religion and spirituality. I was attracted to art because I was looking to be heard, seen and understood. And art did hear me; it fixed its gaze on me and wrapped its arm around my shoulder when I needed it most. Art taught me to be more confident, kind and thoughtful. I learned to look beyond the shadows on the cave wall and seek a greater reality.

The liberal arts indeed liberated my mind and heart, but it could not seem to fix my soul. I was attracted to the Hollywood scene after high school and had a great opportunity to work on a television series and an independent film. I took a summer filmmaking course at USC. Then I applied to UCLA’s film school, but did not get accepted. A year later, I reapplied to the college’s English Literature department and got accepted. And then, God stormed into my life. I had a strong conversion of faith. After graduation and trying hopelessly to find a job, I was hired at a Catholic Radio station in the middle of the barrio. Broadcasting Sunday morning Mass and weekday talks on Church doctrine was thousands of miles away from what I had originally dreamt. At first, the work served as a means to an end, but after ten years of producing shows and evangelization through media, it became my vocation.

My faith grew through the radio station’s content. My understanding of God and who He is in my life moved me to pray more. Through a relationship with God I have been able to discover who I really am – God’s beloved son. God used art as a means to attract me, but it was His love, truth and grace that drew me in. Edgar Avendano @latinofilmmaker