Australian Fine Artist

What in the world do they have in common and what could I possibly learn from a TV show?
Well what indeed you may ask if you are not a fan of this recently revived sic-fi cult status series. I will explain first that I was a big fan during the 1970s and lost interested for over twenty years until the most recent and technically upgraded series started about six or so years ago.
I have always like science fiction but it was especially interested in a recent episode when the Doctor made a visit to Vincent Van Gogh a year before his death.
What could an art student or professional learn from a, some would say, cheesy and not to be taken seriously British TV series?
I am going to explain.
Apart from the episode story of the unbelievable fighting of alien creatures there was a much more important message for me as an artist. Vincent Van Gogh battled mental illness probably in the form of recurring depression. His style of painting was not acceptable to many at the time, he only sold one work and struggled to be accepted nearly anywhere from what I have read.
His darkness and struggle however does not come across in the works I have seen from him. He used bright colours, the paint “moves” around the canvas, as if dancing. There is life, light and beauty in his paintings even though coming from a man struggling with constant inner demons. Vincent experimented with different styles and methods and was technically brilliant even in his drawing abilities as I have seen from many of his early sketches.
After having gone to the Mad Square exhibition, where the upheaval socially, the rise of the socialist party and early cruelties of Hitler’s regime were felt in Germany were reflected in the art I was left thinking about how much of the darkness of human nature and social upheaval needs to be reflected in such negative and graphic detail in art. Do I need to pull out my own demons and pain from my own life, or the negatives of history during my lifetime before I can create significant artworks?
The answer for me came in the final scene where the Doctor takes Vincent to the gallery where his major works are being admired and explored by a generation of people over a hundred years after his death.
People milled around and were looking and admiring. They were finding their own versions of beauty in his paintings and enjoying the experience. The curator was a huge admirer of Vincent and found his own joy in his paintings.
In reality Vincent never knew that his work would go on after him to be admired by so many people. That so many would find joy in his work. Out of his struggle and his pain has come generations of pleasure in his creativity. He didn’t paint the dark place he went to in his worst moments. He didn’t use harsh colours, edges or lack of light to pull us into his nightmares.
We remember Vincent as the man who despite his pain and depression created beauty that is timeless that when we are feeling at our most vulnerable or saddest, or most alone – at the bottom of that deep dark well that is depression, we can always try to see the light, the colour and the beauty and not only ourselves benefit but everyone that will come after us can be touched by what we create and be inspired by it.

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