#4672 - Monday, August 6,
2012 - Editor: Gloria Lee
A.R.T. - Artistic Realization
The A.R.T. method helps those with physical and
disabilities directly express their personal artistic visions.
A.R.T.s mission is to provide
techniques that give direct creative
expression to those who lack use of
their limbs -- even those with
locked-in syndrome who can communicate only
through eye signals or
A.R.T. creates innovative tools and
technologies. Our breakthrough
approach brings perfect individual control of
creative processes to a
population that cannot walk, few can talk, and none
have the articulate
use of their hands.
How is it possible for the A.R.T. artists to
have such power?
Imagine yourself no longer dashing about, no
errands, no bills to pay. Imagine yourself able to sit
still. Able to remain silent. Able to have the time to really
listen, absorb and think. Imagine what an hour of perfect, fully
awake, stillness and silence would allow your mind to take in.
Now try to imagine yourself in this kind of
'ascetic' state', for
a whole day. For a week. For a month. For a year. For
Can you imagine this? Can you imagine how different your inner
life would be?
If the fuel of serious artists is: stillness, is
silence... the A.R.T.
artists have more fuel than the average person. Far
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New
"It's like this. This kid who is quadriplegic,
nonverbal rolls into the
room. We've never met him, he's never met us. He's
never done any art.
I don't think he really ever went to school. And here he
is. We find out
his signal for yes and no then tell him, in this flat
tone, how the A.R.T. techniques work. One of the staff
leans in to speak,
quietly suggesting, I don't believe he understands
saying. I think but do not say, We'll see about that.
What good is it to
presume this young guy won't understand? How will we know
until we let
him show us he does?
Do you want to try it? we ask the young man we
just met. He signals
yes. He directs the exact size of the canvas. He locks
into the directing
the blending of his colors. He looks over all the brushes
and all the
other application tool options and picks one out. The way this
was spoken to by staff you'd think he was incapable of making any
decisions on his own, and here he is locked into all these exacting
choices. He's fixed on each move. And out comes this seriously kick-ass
painting. Seriously kick ass. I mean gallery level. I mean you could hang
it in a museum and no pro painter would poo-poo it, not at all. They
wouldn't be able to because it's that good. His first painting. No art
teacher. No one guiding him. No art history. No nothing. Just him and
the materials, him in charge of it all. In charge, totally, probably for
the first time in his life.
So he didn't mess around. He had all this power
inside him and it just
came out. You wouldn't see the power if you just
measured him by his
physical appearance. But of course Art doesn't come from
the body... it
comes from the spirit. And the immobile body can hide the
The piece was far better than most of the stuff
you'd see in a fancy
art school. Much better. It was a real painting. Very
direct, no fru-fru.
It had power. It was clean.
I don't know if anyone else has worked with so
quadriplegics living lives where they have so, so little
decision-making power. The vast majority, almost all of them turn
paintings better than you see in art schools.
People find this hard to accept. Why? Because
they don't know what
Art is or where it comes from. They think art comes
from these rarified
egotistical genius types. They have this cliché idea
about what an artist
is. They get all wrapped up in the romanticized version
of the artist
with their beret, the years of drawing from the model, the
process of struggling, tortured, to the realization of their
Seriously good art doesn't need any of this. All
it needs to be is good.
And to be good it needs to ring true. And to ring
true it has to come
straight from the best part of you.
This is what the A.R.T. artists do. It's in
them, trapped, and when they
see they have the chance to get it out? They
throw themselves into it.
Because most of them haven't been taught the
conformist methods of
making a house, a sun, a stick figure, a this and a
that kids are taught to
do, the A.R.T. artists start from the highest point
of pure abstraction.
Like the A.R.T. artist Eric Corbin told someone
who asked him what it
was like for him to have finished such a powerful,
painting, he told her, "Even Tim doesn't know how we live in
Live in the paint. They aren't painting a
picture. They aren't making a
decoration. They are living in the paint.
Sailing with its movement.
Expanding with its color. This is what real
One moment we have this young guy operating day
after day, year after
year at the lowest rung of Life's ladder, and the next
he's operating up
at the very top. He's not handicapped; he has excellent,
Thanks to Greg Allen Morgoglione for linking to