Petavrakis (Dr Manny)
I am a family doctor, practicing part time in Brisbane. The rest of my time is spent helping my wife Meg run our art store, Art Shed Brisbane and our new School Art Supplies. We have also set up Circle Gallery for emerging artists to show their work. I run a life drawing group and have recently produced an art programme for television, (The Way Of The Artist) and a how-to-draw DVD (Just Draw!). My wife Meg and I are passionate about spreading the joy of creativity in our community.
About 12 years ago, I was working in a different medical practice, and I was burning out. My former marriage was suffering. It then ended. I was lost and confused.
I had been out of balance for way too long.
Throughout a lot of my worst periods, I would find myself longing to paint, or draw. (I remembered fondly, my enjoyment doing art in high school- lovely creative pauses in my otherwise maths and science filled life).
About that time, I discovered a life-drawing group. It was great. After a while, my drawing, my painting and much of the rest of my life began to improve.
We are a troubled society. Despite the amazing time saving technological miracles, we’re time poor, stressed and often dissatisfied. Most of us have financial worries. Half the country’s children visit parents in different homes fortnightly. Modern life can be soul destroying.
Creative self expression allows us to use parts of our brain which are inhibited in day to day activities. Being creative is akin to meditation. It gives us joy and satisfaction. It heals our soul.
An education that includes art produces a more rounded and better balanced individual. It introduces students to a new freedom of thought enabling them to make novel associations - to think outside established patterns. Creativity arms young people with the ability to find unique solutions in an ever more unpredictable world.
I have learned from first hand experience, just how healing creative self expression can be. Everyone has heard about art therapy- but I believe we need to go beyond “remedies” designed to heal pain after the damage is done. I’m talking about the great joy experienced by anyone who chooses to make time to be creative.
Many millions of dollars are spent annually by our governments in making the highest art in the nation available to all of us. There is great value in showcasing the best art, opera, music, ballet etc. However I believe there is more to be gained by each of us having a go at creative self expression. I believe that participation in artistic expression, is what gives the greatest benefit.
As both a GP and artist, I can honestly say that I feel I am doing more good encouraging a person in their creative pursuits, than I do prescribing antidepressants.
Of late, there has been a very encouraging change in society, regarding art. I call it the democratization of art. No longer is art seen as such an exclusive domain, limited to those few who are deemed gifted or who have some other entitlement.
In our retail store, Meg and I see growing numbers of everyday people, mums and dads, professionals and labourers… people from all walks of life, excited about getting into art, and eager to learn as much as possible.
Our whole team agree it’s a thrill to do what we can to help each person and thereby to promote this trend. It sure beats people spending their time in casinos!
Meg and I are thrilled that recently, we’ve gained the opportunity to spread the joy of creativity in an even more effective and dynamic way. Through our association with Tianni, Leigh Phair, and QATA, we aim to offer real and substantial support to you, our art teachers, in your efforts to nurture creativity in our children. (i.e. our future)!
Our School Art Supplies team is currently busy planning even more exciting and inspiring ideas-ideas to help you help our kids, but firstly, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to communicate directly with us. We would like to work with you to develop the most beneficial programmes, workshops, PD and support. Think of us as not only a supplier of art materials but as an eager ally. We’re “creative” first and “business” second.
Please let us know what you think- for our kids and for the future of our society.