The Artist’s Revenge on Pathology

The Artist's Revenge on Pathology

Just saying the word, pathology, makes me want to pull out a diagnostic book and look up every presenting abnormality I think I have. Until I found out cancer patients began loosing their hair only after receiving chemotherapy, which comes after being diagnosed with cancer, I thought I had cancer every time my hair fell out.

When I heard you couldn’t be crazy if you’re still questioning your sanity, I was thrilled; I figured, if I ever go crazy, and stop questioning my sanity, it wouldn’t matter anyways – the real me would’ve checked out already.

Those who aren’t yet consumed by the fear of some lurking disease or skewed mental state of mind only have to expose themselves to current media, pimping Corporate America’s pharmaceuticals, to find they are most likely qualified for some pathological diagnosis.

Fidgeting children, who lose focus during class, are quickly diagnosed with the cookie cutter diagnosis, ADHD, which comes with plenty of side-effecting prescriptions. Most of you won’t have to look up the acronym to know exactly what pathology I’m talking about.

Our society is all too eager to label symptoms, any symptoms, out of the ordinary, rather than work with it, address the real underlying problem, or seek time-tested indigenous remedies.

Let’s ditch the ADHD quotas, and look at the climate of our schools, or the quality of teaching, before handing out diagnoses or medication. Any normal human being would become incapable of sitting still and focusing after nearly eight hours a day, five days a week, of school; not to mention homework time. With P.E. nearly eliminated altogether, and recess so heavily monitored, you can hardly call it playtime – what’s society to expect other than restless kids wanting to move around, and be creative.

I could go on, and on….I won’t. I got on this topic as a result of an art piece I worked on today. I started it yesterday in an attempt to work something out; I often get relief through the process. An intense color might support the full expression of a powerful emotion, while angles and curves can offer, symbolically, a navigational path through my psyche. I never know what will work, I just do art, and it works.

Normally, I avoid analyzing the process of doing art, which would negate the benefits, in my opinion. Today, however, I almost did, when someone asked about the piece. I said it was called Schizo, as in schizophrenic. Straight up pathology! It wasn’t till hours later, after contemplating the assigned title, that I realized I had reduced the artistic process by giving the piece a pathological name. I decided to call the piece, Pathology, instead. I titled it Pathology to remind myself  I am not a quota, a statistic, nor a guinea pig for pharmaceuticals. I am unique, a little zany at times, and can be different from one day to the next, and definitely not to be understood through the lens of some pathologically inclined diagnostic assessment. Yuck!

The day I reduce my art to mere analytical material, or approach the process in a structured, therapeutic manner, is the day I seize to do art. I would get more out of a blank canvas. Or, I could just cut my ear off…. nah, Van Gogh’s got that one covered, plus, I like music too much.


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