Tag Archives: inspiration
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Nicole Bresnick, a local Madison artist, about her work at the Overture Center for the Arts which is currently on display. She discussed her life size self portrait and the meaning it holds for her. The painting is a testimony to all the changes she has experienced and that which she has overcome in her life to get this far. Her success comes on the heels of years of struggle and strife. If all this wasn’t inspiring enough, I was amazed to find that even in the face of recent controversy over her painting, she moves in the direction of positive creativity.
The painting above didn’t used to have a Columbine flower within it. It was originally painted exposing the left breast. However, because the painting is in the area of children it was advised that the work be altered, taken down, or shown only during hours where adults could view.
Normally, artists in this situation would feel insulted, defensive, and refuse to shift the work in any way shape or form. And then if one did make changes to the work they would be considered a “sell out.” Turns out that Nicole doesn’t fall into any of these artistic cliches.
She took in the information and considered deeply what would happen if she took the work down vs shifting it for a younger audience. There are elements of knowing that the work would make a positive impression to the thousands that would view it, questions about how she might lose her own integrity if she altered the work, and the statement she was trying to make on the larger scale about herself and the world around her.
It became apparent rather quickly that the way that Nicole had made it through the toughest times in her life was to take the concern she had and turn it into creativity. This was another moment to where she could lean into the challenge of change and create a beautiful result. She decided on adding her favorite flower, a columbine… which also happens to be prominent in Wisconsin, to the portrait. And as an added bonus, without consciously knowing it, she found herself in great company as Leonardo da Vinci was inspired as well by the columbine.
So from all of this, I ask you look at how Nicole deals with change and adversity and apply it to your own life. She embraces hardship as an opportunity to create! Instead of running away from the difficult parts she fully engages her thoughts, emotions, and begins to take action. She uses the anxious energy she might have about the change ahead and channels it into a stronger sense of self.
Please consider joining me at the gallery opening on Jan 18th at 6pm. However, if you can’t wait that long you head over to the Overturn now through March 2013 as the gallery is open. You can get all the details at the Deja Vu for Two page.
There was a video I recently saw that talked about Reverse Graffiti. I had never heard of this concept. Basically it is people that use water and often times soap to create graffiti on dirty walls around a city. It is truly beautiful. This guy in the video was talking about how he had OCD that specifically focused on cleaning up dirt. His story is so inspiring.
It starts off that he suffered from some pretty bad obsessive compulsive tendencies towards cleaning. I felt bad for him, as I imagined how hard it must have been for him to experience this as a negative quality within his life. But then, something shifted in my thoughts as he began to talk about how he was a dishwasher. And I thought WOW, he is transforming the problems that he has and turning them into something that provides soothing for the issue and gives him a paycheck. How smart and inspiring is that?!
Then it just got better. He went on to explain that one day he saw a spot on the wall and needed to clean it. He began to clean but the wall was so dirty that the clean spot totally stood out. He tried to make a design but that was even more noticeable. So he decided to was the whole wall. And then decided to clean the whole restaurant.
From this he was inspired. He saw dirt everywhere and calls himself the Professor of Dirt. He took this need to clean and wanted to make something beautiful on the streets of San Francisco In fact, the video shows his current project of a mural that are all the plants that once were on the land where walls are now.
All of this got me thinking about the therapeutic principal of “co-opting the pathology”. This concept basically means that the thing that your brain is already doing that you dislike you turn it into something wonderful and helpful to you. You don’t go against your own brain to fight it, you incorporate the way your brain already works to make something positive.
This man took his OCD tendencies and created art and a life for himself that is bigger than a problem of always wanting to clean. That is outstanding! I would encourage you to consider the areas in your life that you feel you are negative and consider amping up what it is you do and find a positive outlet for it. Who knows… you might just find you are making the world a better place with the very thing that you once felt hindered you!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”