New Sailor Explores Both Halves of his Life
His pencil scratches against the paper, the repetitive motion creating shadows and adding depth to his drawing. He's putting the finishing touches on a self-portrait, one that represents both his past and his future.
"My artwork describes my daily thoughts - how I see myself, how I see my life," said Wyatt Coronell, now a brand new Sailor, fresh out of boot camp.
Coronell's self-portrait is divided down the middle of the page: On the side representing his past, he draws himself in front of a brick, urban background, with a tear rolling down his eye. On the other side, he's wearing a naval officer's cover low over his eyes, and a look of determination instead of sadness.
The past he's referenced in his artwork hasn't been an easy one. Coronell spent his childhood growing up on Baltimore's inner city streets, much of it in the city's infamous McCulloh Homes projects, surrounded by gang activity, drugs, violence and murder.
His father died of a heart condition when Coronell was young. Aware of the difficult environment surrounding his family, Coronell's father, a Marine Corps veteran, left Coronell with some advice before he passed: Stay out of trouble and away from negative influences.
It wasn't easy. After his father died, Coronell's mother, a drug addict, abandoned him and his siblings, leaving them to fend for themselves. They even lived in a vacant house with no running water for a time while he still struggled to keep going to school and stay out of trouble.