Eros Da Artiste is one of the most talented people you will ever meet. The author, singer, actor, content creator, and visual artist resides in Baltimore.
“I Choose Pain” is his first work in The Fellas Literary Series. It follows four characters. Lionel Davis, Joseph Thompson, Felipe Hartfield, and Cordell Kennedy. Eros started the book twelve years ago while attending Morgan State University. Due to his church upbringing, he hesitated to complete the book due to fear of criticism and passionate rebuke from the church. But when circumstances were altered, he decided to finish and publish the book and let the chips fall where they may.
Below, PrideIndex brings his long-lost interview from 2021. This gifted, soft-spoken thespian shares his publishing journey, lessons learned from choosing pain, and the importance of keeping positive thoughts.
PrideIndex (PI): Tell me a little about your background and where it has brought you thus far today?
Eros Da Artiste (EDA): My background is simply I was born in North Carolina. I was bred in the church as the Director of Music. Not too long ago, I wrote a book. I was procrastinating about writing that book. I ended up being asked to leave by the church. They had reasons why, but that made me go ahead and write the book and deal with the repercussions. It was one of the best things I could have done for myself.
PI: Talk about your book. When did you publish it?
EDA: I published the book in 2018. I procrastinated about writing the text for over 12 years. I started writing the book in 2006. The book is an LGBTQ fiction novel about four friends, each with its own story. We have someone who’s disowned, been traumatized, and was hurt by the church. Oh, yeah, and someone abandoned by their parents and left to fend for themselves. He ended up being a ward of the state. They all found themselves at Morgan State University, my alma mater, and were best friends for 19-plus years. Some of it is autobiography and some of it is pure fiction, but all geared toward healing.
PI: How did you come up with the title “I Choose Pain?”
EDA: I chose that title because it was a lesson, I had to learn a long time ago. I knew that I would choose pain by living my own truth. Or being who I was. I knew I was going to choose pain because I had to deal with family and friends not accepting and also being at risk of being excommunicated. I decided on that title because there’s a lesson where all of us select pain, whether we know it or not. I chose the temporary discomfort of having to deal with being separated from family or my friends.
Regarding my outside family, the support that came with it alleviated that pain. I was able to make better decisions, and joy followed. The permanent pain is for me to lie about who I was and come up with all types of excuses to make people think I was straight.
PI: Have you written any other books?
EDA: I wrote a sequel to “I Choose Pain” called “The Cost.” I’m writing another book called “While the Shades Watch: How to Kiss Your Own Ass.” It’s a humorous self-help book. It brings a country boy’s perspective to questions we ask ourselves.
Pi: Name three people who have had the most influence on your artistic style.
EDA: The three people who have had the most influence over me are E. Lynn Harris, Maya Angelou, and V.C. Andrews.
PI: Were you trained as a writer?
EDA: I was not trained, per se, as a writer, but I studied creative writing.
PI: Do you have a master’s in English?
EDA: My master’s is in music.
PI: Which one do you enjoy more, creating art, writing, or making music?
EDA: It’s hard to say. I love them all. If I were to pick one, it would be creating music.
PI: And why is that?
EDA: Well, there’s something about the tone, being able to hear tones from the piano and melding them together to create something. It could be in a symphony or a song for a church. It could also be a song for someone to sing solo. Music has always been my foremost love.
PI: Talk about your paintings, drawings, and art.
EDA: I do mostly digital paintings and drawings. But I also do canvas paintings drawn by hand.
PI: What is a digital artist?
EDA: I have an app on my phone called Autodesk sketchbook. I do most of my art on that. And if I want to post it, I send it to Vistaprint. Or if it’s slightly risqué, I’ll send it to another place to get it printed, framed, and posted on my site.
PI: Do you sell your art?
EDA: The only time I sold art was on a cruise. And it was okay.
PI: I’m amazed that you don’t sell your art.
EDA: To be honest, I would love to sell my art. I need to know the right channel to do it. I am on the autistic spectrum. There are the others who are artistic, who are not really given a fair shake. People believe that we are either crazy or not all there. If you give us autistics a chance, we will surprise you.
PI: Let’s take a look at a quote you have. “Keep positive thoughts at the forefront of your mind. Take care of yourself” what does that mean? How would you practice that in your daily life?
EDA: To keep positive. I usually practice meditation techniques. I have my music playing while I’m sleeping. And sometimes, I light incense; I do what I can to keep a peaceful place and atmosphere in my house and wherever I go. I meditate, pray, and write whatever I need to do to have positive thoughts flowing. I’ve tried to shy away from anything or anybody with negative energy.
PI: What else would you like to share with us?
EDA: Follow me on Instagram and Facebook. And remember, no matter what happens to you, other people might be going through similar experiences. To those who are excommunicated or exiled from family because they choose to be their authentic selves, it does get better. I encourage anybody who has gone through some hardships to remember you’re not alone.