I have always used art, in the same way a clothes dryer uses its filter to get the lint out. Art has been my way of purifying my soul. I have always escaped from everything which was not beautiful by looking through the beautiful pictures of my art book collection.
From a very young age, I always had an empty, vacant hole in my heart — an emotional condition, which could only be filled with art. Sometimes, it was as though I was emotionally walking around with an empty stomach until I would encounter a beautiful painting which moved me. All of a sudden, it was like I had been fed a very satisfying emotional meal.
Now that all the galleries and museums have been closed for almost a year, now that everything which has been visually feeding our soul all of a sudden has been invaded by a virus, it’s been like I have been going to grocery stores with a long shopping list only to find the sign: ”Sorry, we are closed!“ Everything I have ever learned has been through art. Art has always sheltered, comforted, and healed me. All my life, I have had a mental love affair with all these different legends of the past painters and their paintings. When I was in my teens, I fell head over heels in love with Vincent van Gogh and Picasso. Their styles absolutely amazed me. In my twenties, I fell in love with Marc Chagall. I had to look at his art in the books I had of his work almost daily. Going through pages and pages of his art made me feel as though I was actually sleepwalking. It felt as though I was in the middle of a dream — in a foggy, timeless space. It felt as though I was walking through all these colors — all these blues, greens, and grays — dreaming and witnessing these shades, tones, and hues running into each other before coming together into beautiful art of Marc Chagall. The essence of his art by which I had been touched, like an aftertaste, would be lingering for days in my mind. Then just like that, I fell out of love with Chagall’s art, and I gave my heart completely to Henri Matisse’s work. Everything in my life was influenced by him and was Matisse-oriented. My house was decorated based on the colors and the patterns he used in his paintings. I used bright and bold colors and patterns in my own paintings as well. I found that there was something meditative and infinite about his colors and his paintings. Matisse’s art made me feel large and important while at the same time, trivial, small, and insignificant, as though I was standing in front of where the universe and life itself all had come to a glorious, magnificent end.
There were so many other other art books and artists’ art in between, coming in and out of my life, like Francisco Clemente, Alex Katz, and a few more great legendary painters. Finally, I settled being crazy about the outside, art brut, self-thought art. I adored the simplicity and the idea of the “painting like no one is looking” aspect of this style of art. There was something mysterious and mesmerizing about outsider art. You had to be in tune with those artists and their art to truly understand and love them. They were not pretentious; their art was honest. These artists had no way of decorating, ornamenting, or elaborating their art. They were absolutely truthful to express who they were, and you either had to take them exactly as they were or you just had to pass on them and leave them behind. Their art was beautifully naked and truthful, and this nakedness could shake the viewer’s core. These artists were bluntly expressing, telling the truth about what they felt deep inside.
It is true that even though, for thousands of years, everything in art has already been told and retold, we are still always hungry for something brand new in art to astonish us. We expect to be swept off our feet, be awakened, and be moved to feel as though all the emotions hidden deep inside us have come to the surface. We give power and permission to the artists holding an invisible magic knife in their hands to cut us emotionally — to make us feel, see, hear, touch, and heal.
Art allows us to love, embrace, and adore it to death. The impact of art, music, literature, movies, and all the other art forms are very significant in our lives. We can certainly transfer and release our pain and get rid of our stress and our anxiety through art. Creating and enjoying art improves our health tremendously. Art affects our bodies’ cells, and it increases our brain function. It raises our immune system and helps us get rid of any kind of negativity and depression.
We can all use art as a means of self-discovery, self-realization, self-enlightenment, and self-healing. Art can excite us at the same time as it can give us a sense of peace and serenity. It is correct to say that there is no substitute for art. Art cannot be taken away from the culture of a society. It is only through art which we can connect with each other globally, tell our stories, and share our deepest feelings with each other. We can lose ourselves in art as well as find ourselves through art. The final word is: art is an effective, magical band-aid. Art will save us all.