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Image by David Price

A symptom is not a “disorder.” It is a truth that needs to be heard. — Agnes Aflalo

One of the things art does is heal. It heals the mind, it heals the body and the soul, just by its practice, regardless of the quality of the work. That’s why it’s worth doing at whatever level you can achieve.

Abstract art may be less comprehensible than representational art to the general public, but it affords the same healing powers to the practitioner. As an abstract artist, I can personally attest to that.

All the mystique that clings to the appellation “artist” is of no import compared to the simple practice of making art. It’s a spiritual discipline because it requires an elevated consciousness. You have to be hyper alert to relationships between strokes, colors and spacial areas. You have to perceive energetic flows and concentrations. You have to know when things are out of balance. You rely on your intuition to sense when the work is finished.

It’s not mathematical. It’s instinctual. That’s why it’s called art.

And then there is beauty, that thing that exists in the eye of the beholder. If you create a statement that speaks clearly and strongly, it will approach beauty, regardless of its subject.

I started as an adolescent to make art, with all the misconceptions an adolescent would have. I worried about talent, about my profile, my career, money — everything that attaches itself to art that has nothing to do with art. I floundered. I almost gave up.

As luck would have it, I stumbled upon an answer to my worries in my thirties as I was vagabonding in Italy. I tripped over my fate and something in me caught fire. It looks like happenstance but it feels to me like destiny when I look back on it.

The whole thing was so unlikely, but now I see my essential self pushing above ground like a seed germinating. I was becoming myself. It was a kind of miracle.

I was just following my nose, and what did I find? My soul. It was a miracle.

You wonder how these things work. How do these coincidences happen?

Maybe by being straight-out foolish. Maybe by taking stupid chances. Maybe by following one’s fantasies.

I still criticize myself for not being more practical. I would still like to be smart about how the world works. But would I have had the experiences I’ve had as a down-to-earth practical minded young man?

Absolutely not. I would have followed the script. I would have a stable, predictable life now, with a dead soul.

I choose my past and my future, by betting on my spirit. In the process I got my life as it has been lived, warts, bumps and all.

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