Art and Awareness
In our day and age, everyone is an expert at everything. Millions of specialists and authorities spontaneously emerged since the invention of the internet by Al Gore. I think it only takes 3 days to become a surgeon and just a weekend to get a PHD in psychology. (I heard it’s a gruesome experience, but on Sunday evening everyone calls you Doctor :)
Confessions of an artist
When I started out as an actor in New York, I was fortunate to study with most of the great teachers and directors of our time. Giants like Lee Strasberg, Uta Hagen, Sandy Meisner, Herbert Berghof, Stella Adler, etc., were all alive and well back then. It took seven years to even begin to feel confident in your technique, let alone worthy of training with such extraordinary artists.
In the 21st Century, it is not easy at all for an artist to navigate above the madness of the political scene and be heard from a different platform: yours! People need to be heard, not homogenized into the next political fad.
Politics, morals and religion have taken the world hostage. Mind you, it’s nobody’s fault and there’s hardly anyone to blame — that’s what politics, morals and religion do!
If you absolutely need to blame something, blame ignorance and fate.
At the heart of every single human life is a being. A being-ness that is living its life on earth like so many others before. I’m often astonished at how many people have lived and died since the beginning of time. Apparently 108 billion just the past 50 000 years. It means 108 billion humans have died after they lived. I’m not a big trivia kind of guy, but THAT is spooky to me.
Few of the billions have the opportunity to see their life mature and become something special — outside of the homogenized standards I mean.
From my vantage point, all the answers are in the being-ness. The other side of man is cellular memory, instincts and, as a consequence, habitual conditioned behavior. Your spirit? It’s with you the whole time you are on this earth.
So, why art instead of nothing? Why did the cave artists paint at all? Remember, no internet back then :)
In my humble view, art is the space between human and being. Art creates a bridge to understanding and a platform to rest on, so we can investigate, discover and begin to realize, if we can, our nature and true purpose.
I believe that it is also man’s spirit that deserves to be recognized, honored and celebrated. In a sense, early cave artists understood the need for beautiful and hopeful thinking in action.
Why art instead of nothing? Art is also the space between body and spirit so we can reconnect freely to our dualistic nature.
Art is free Kandinsky proclaimed in the early 1900’s. Yes, free plastically speaking indeed! In those days, art was just beginning to be free. The Impressionists had freed color. Van Gogh went further into freeing form and brush strokes. Later, Piet Mondrian, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock took incredible risks into new dimensions.
Picasso said “We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie to makes us realize truth. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”
Art is free of any conditioning that takes you away from yourself. It is that kind of conditioning which keeps man stuck in blind repetition and away from creation.
Art is free from the past, free from cellular memory. From “I paint what I am told to paint” to “I paint what I am” (Jackson Pollock), is hundreds of years of being ruled by kings and clergymen telling these extraordinary artists, indeed what to paint.
I became a painter in my early 40’s. I was fortunate to study under a great artist and art educator by the name of Francis Coelho. It was in Mill Valley near San Francisco. I studied under him until he died in 2002. He helped me greatly develop the spark that was there when we met.
I paint abstractly because to me “I am before I think.” I know that I am. I feel that I am, without thoughts to disturb my work.
I think, because I am
Self-reflected consciousness (what we call mind) will never create my being. I will only tolerate mind to be my potentially gifted biographer.
“I aim at creating my art in the context of a universal idea of freedom. I am unquestionably against all physical and ideological manifestations of tyranny, oppression and imprisonment. I can’t imagine a better time to realign our hearts and spirits around a liberating idea of art as a contextual idea for unequivocal liberty.” Artist Benichou
What are your thoughts on the matter?
I was gifted three career paths in my life. I first began as a professional actor for stage, soap operas and voice-overs in New York and Hollywood.
I started directing and training actors as well as performers for another 15 years, while still very active as a voice-over artist and director. See the Hollywood Actors Studio.
As the actor’s studio grew in reputation, the business and corporate world wanted to learn performance skills. In 2003, I founded Speakers & Artists International, Inc., a training ground dedicated to public speaking and business communication using acting techniques.
At age 40, I began a long journey as a visual artist, which led me to begin writing. This was 20 years ago. Writing continues to be an essential aspect of my development as an artist and a person.
Empowering individuals with critical skills and self-knowledge is my way of contributing my expertise. Emotional intelligence and intuitive awareness are prerequisites for the massive changes that are coming.
Philippe Stonebeck is my pen name, while Eric Stone has been my stage and coaching name for many years. I paint under the name Artist Benichou (Philippe Benichou).