Dr Manuel Petavrakis (Dr Manny)
“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour…” (Robert Smith)
Every aspect of our nature and existence relates to some degree, to our mortality. Every thing we do that changes or adapts our environment is a creative act. Play is a carefree activity in which the imagination effects spontaneous actions. Most adults believe play is a child’s activity.
Children draw and paint in play, unselfconsciously. They leave traces of their actions that sing of the freedom and sincerity of their thoughts.
Later as children grow, they become concerned with adult issues; self image, self criticism, and self esteem– they begin to feel compelled to make an image fit a preconceived appearance when they draw or paint. This is about the time when young people start feeling they don’t have the right to feel good about themselves. It is also about the time when people stop being creative or artistic.
The story of art throughout history is also a journey through an adolescence of sorts. It has grown from the infancy of play and cave drawings through to the experimentation with all the new “isms” of modern art, complete with the recent total rejection by the art establishment and of the worth of anything preceding it.
Now that the world of art has experienced every possible combination and permutation, since it has drunk its fill, like a youth experiencing love, the world of art now has knowledge. It can see that the quest… the whole journey, has brought mankind back to the beginning.
Each of us wants to reflect our experiences, in creations of our own. Whether we realize it or not, much of what we do is centred on leaving our mark in the world.
We understand our ephemeral nature, yet we strive for a spot of immortality – to leave some mark of our having been here. And to leave a trace of ourselves so that our having been here, has mattered.
In the past, many people saw “art” as some high and unattainable pinnacle, as proof of the existence of a select minority, of a gifted or specially favoured few.
The rise of the middle class with more disposable income, and the availability of affordable art materials, access to art instruction, the larger number of retired people … all these factors have led to a democratization of art. I think people search for something real, some purpose, when the dehumanizing and depersonalizing influences of our age have taken their toll.
People from all walks of life are beginning to believe they can create worthwhile art. They are finding out that if they accept themselves, it makes their work personally relevant, and if they follow their own voice, distinctive.
Many reject any formal art training, preferring instead to just “be themselves” (eg the Outsider Art movement)
The ideals of the salon and the gallery and the art museum are increasingly further from the conscience of most people making their own creations. Many people are happy to play with art materials and make drawings and paintings just for the fun of it, or just for themselves. They’re learning that making art is about overcoming obstacles. It affords them achievable self-actualization.
They are focussing less on the finished product as an object meant for veneration by society. Instead, they are finding that it is the process which matters.
Nobody denies the benefit of seeing High Art in museums and biennales, however what appeals to me is that far greater numbers of people than the large hoards visiting major shows, are beginning to enjoy and benefit from being creative.
It seems that despite the amazing growth of the information and communication technologies, a large part of society is looking for something different and more lasting or real ; especially since the financial “crash”. Making some waves in the ethereal cyberspace of the internet, while novel and fast, just doesn’t gel for many – at least not for very long.
The materials of art thrill us with their potential. Once our imaginations fly and the opportunities open before us, they impassion us. This is how art heals our emotional fatigue and our physical lethargy.
So many of my patients complain that they’d become happier once they get healthier. Very often, the converse is actually more true; they’d be healthier if they were happier. Haven’t we all at some stage admired those who achieve despite their ailments?
There’s no time like the present. Grasp life by the shoulders and shake it… hug it and make the most of it. Get out there and do what it is that you’re passionate about. Forget about what people will think. Who cares?
Every significant step made by humankind was made by someone going outside their comfort zone or beyond their own expectations or following an idea to its conclusion despite its unorthodox path.
For those of you keen to express your feelings visually, to leave a mark on paper, or canvas - in the “fine arts” we hope our store, and website give you some inspiration.
For others, Viva la difference!
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