|Spirit Bird © Robin Phillips Studio|
I am honored that my piece Spirit Bird has been selected for The Healing Power of Art 2016 exhibition organized by Manhattan Arts International, which runs through September 20!
“Art holds the power to ignite the flame in our hearts and transform our minds. Art reveals the beauty as well as the horror of the human condition. Through art we are given the key to connect to a higher purpose.” ~ Renee Phillips, curator
The Healing Power of Art is a wonderful online community of art/artists that promote well being and positive change. Artists in the group are inspired by health/healing, education, social work, environmental awareness and more. See the exhibit and read more at: http://www.manhattanarts.com/hpa-1/ and http://healing-power-of-art.org
So, why do I create inspirational / healing / visionary art and how did I get started on this path?
In short, life experience moves me to create inspirational art. In just forty-some years, I’ve gone through a variety of personal challenges- health, lack of money/lost jobs, family/relationship difficulties, and being close to depression, alcoholism and violence to name some of the bigger ones. I also think a lot about how much much more suffering exists in the world- everyone is not treated fairly or equally nor have the same basic opportunities. So many people are without their basic needs. Our human history is full of horrible acts of denigration and devastation. Our Mother Earth has been ravaged, people turn against each other due to “differences”, sometimes even such small differences. It is mind-boggling how compassion is missing, and words don’t always serve us well. Why are leaders in place that don’t value humanity or nature? Why are some people quick to turn away from others? How have we gotten to the place where it is long forgotten how to honor each other and our land?
For all of these reasons I have felt increasingly humbled by life and it has deeply strengthened my sense of compassion and empathy. Through trying to understand and express some of my earliest challenges, in college I studied psychology, art and world spiritual traditions. A big turning point for me came in my twenties, when I was diagnosed with diabetes. Having to face a serious chronic disease with dangers and complications at a young age made my life flash before me. Around the same time, my first art commission was for a woman dying. She wanted a visual remembrance of her spirit for her husband. He wanted to give her something she treasured in her last days. Somehow I managed to make an art doll and I titled it Radiance. I put my heart and soul into it, hoping that it might be worthy of her. Through experiences like this, I started to feel that there is so much more to the human spirit than just our physical bodies. That beyond suffering, there was an infinite source of love accessible to us all. My love of nature inspired me to start seeing that this love was inherent in Earth’s lush abundance- that water, animals, land, food, gardens are all gifts to us. Ultimately, I began to realize that my time on earth is limited and I felt the calling to do something meaningful with my life. As a graphic/web designer, this also moved me to work with human services non-profits and small creative ventures as opposed to agencies/corporations. Onward to today, I am continuously thankful for the time and the blessings that I have.
Several years ago, I worked with VSA Arts, a wonderful organization promoting the power of art for people living with disabilities. I fondly remember the strong spirit of all the people I met there- especially how those who faced the greatest challenges were so positive. And furthermore how art opened up a world of new possibility- a space with no limitations, a space of pure love and joy. This experience, among others, reinforced my healing art path. Buddhists have long believed suffering leads to compassion and enlightenment, and I do see the truth in this principle. I don’t wish that suffering is necessary for anyone. But to be able to see the beauty and interconnectedness of life amidst difficulty is a gift that we all have access to, at any time.
Through my work, I express a vision of spirit. The closest description I can give this in words is that it is an expression of pure love, beauty, and the potential for positive growth and healing. It is a holistic perspective, much like a scientific observation from the outside looking in. Occasionally, I am asked do I only paint “happy” pictures? I have also created pieces through pain and anger- art is a powerful therapeutic tool! But I believe the visionary pieces hold more power to inspire others. I feel the power of positive imagery is not about blindly ignoring or running from our problems, but about celebrating what does feel beautiful, what common ground we might share, and illuminating a new path forward. Now more than ever, I believe it is crucial to spread a deep sense of hope and love because it is NOT prevalent. Every living thing deserves/needs to be more loved and honored. I don’t mean this in the context that somehow art or even spirituality can by itself magically save us all. Simply that solutions or inspirations or collaborations often come in peaceful moments through love and appreciation. That personal healing can also begin in these same loving moments. Images touch us in ways that words alone can not. In this way, I believe visionary art has the potential to foster/inspire healing across the world. Yet art is just one channel of many. Every act of kindness or suggestion to support a cause matters. Shine your light!
|The Light Within © Robin Phillips Studio|
My Latest Painting, The Light Within
We all have a bright, beautiful light within, regardless of our circumstances. In this piece, it was my goal to create a universal-looking figure. Our magnificent internal light is all-encompassing, reflecting and refracting rainbow colors. It is our central beacon of hope and healing. Know that you always have this source within you.