When I was a little girl my Mom used to work in a hospital. I thought that it was a magic place. We didn't have any real toys back then because Mom's salary wasn't enough for such luxury. But we had plenty of "hospital toys" like tiny bottles, plastic instruments and all kinds of curious objects. I have vivid memories of my brother Alex and I playing science with our special toys.
In the past, I sometimes wanted to be a surgeon. I imagined myself in front of a large table full of shiny and beautiful medical instruments. I also remember myself memorizing a small book about what to do in case of different emergencies. One day at the beach, I helped a man who had just cut his foot with a broken bottle buried in the sand. Nobody knew what to do. The man was bleeding a lot and screaming. I immediately did what my mind remembered from the book (using the man's t-shirt) so the bleeding eventually stopped. By the time the ambulance arrived the grateful gentleman was a lot calmer. I will never forget how proud of myself I felt.
Then, one day my sister Ileana took me to her art school for a tour. I couldn't believe my eyes. She took me to the ceramic studio, the engraving studio, the painting studio... For the first time in my life I saw tons of brushes, pencils, tiny tubes of paints, blades of all sizes, wooden instruments...it was better than a hospital! I realized that artists had as many "toys" as surgeons. I fell in love with the place. Who could imagine that years later I was going to become one more student in that magic place.
As an artist, I enjoy my creative instruments as much as I enjoy creating art. There is nothing more special in the beginning of a project than setting up the table. That little ritual is the same as the surgeon that is about to do an important operation.
"Operating" on a peace of clay, a blank canvas or a piece of paper, requires the skills of a surgeon. But in the case of art, the surgeon deals with an abstract problem, something that is very personal, unique and exists only in the artist's mind. As creative people, we have the urge to bring something into light, something that nobody else can see. Sometimes it feels like an emergency, other times it doesn't, it depends on our lever of inspiration.
But setting up the table is not the first step in the creative process. Before making something concrete with my hands I first go through a whole surgical process inside the mind. Art never starts in the material world but inside us. I think that in order to create meaningful things we need to keep our mind awake. Thought is the food of creative people. Then, when the physical work is finished we can experience pride, the same pride that I felt when I helped the man on the beach. It's like something important has been accomplished. Creating meaningful art is like stopping a bleeding wound in the creator's mind.
To me, the process of creating art is fascinating. I cannot clearly explain it, I only make attempts to describe how it feels in my personal experience. But apart from what I wrote in this post I suspect that surgeons are artists as well. Specially the one that operated on my brother Rene last year. My respects to him and to every surgeon who puts lots of thought into the responsibility that means to operate on a human body. Saving a person's life in a dangerous situation is to me the ultimate work of art.