December 15, 2013 | 2 Comments

How does contemplation influence your art and your life in this world?
Artist’s Statement – Benoit (France)

denise_scotto I was born contemplative!
9 pounds of pure contemplation!

As a toddler, I was so quiet that my aunt thought I was sick, especially as compared to my cousin, her son, who broke his voice crying and screaming in his cradle… He became a lawyer!!

Eventually, to become part of this world, I removed my thumb from my mouth and played the game, you know, Paris, New-York, fashion, Jet-set, etc.

It was fun. And I met many very interesting people. Really beautiful souls.

But, something was missing. Didn’t know what it was. My contemplative mood, I guess you can call it that way.

They say “privacy is the last luxury”! What about contemplation?! Isn’t it a luxury nowadays to take time for contemplation ? Or is it ?

I suppose, I never put it into words. Not in these words anyway. Not then. And that probably helped me a lot! I just felt a strong need. Yes, like a call, you might say. Like many of us who are on a so-called ‘spiritual path”, I suppose. Something blurry yet powerful which had become vital even though I didn’t know what it was.

Actually started with art. Not art as a viewer. Art as a maker. All forms of art! Not for show or display. Just for me. To get the feel of it.

And of course, when you’re ready, when time is ready for you, life puts exactly the right book into your hand, or you meet exactly the right person, the right situation. So, I found Vivaldi and Sun-Ra somewhere on the 52nd; Mark Rothko at the Guggenheim and Milton Avery at the MOMA; Alvin Ailey on Times Square and Twyla Tharp’s ‘The Catherine Wheel’ at the MET (an epiphany!); Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, the Bhagavad Gita… and one evening, as I was keeping Charlotte-Jane (5 years old) and Alison (7 and a half), while they were playing, watching TV and making a mess in our house in Easthampton, I picked up « Drawing from the right side of the brain » by Betty Edwards.

And I forgot all the noise and the world around me.

I still regularly open that book just to remind me to look at things differently, even in my spiritual life, to ‘untrigger’ the left hemisphere and give room to that part of me which functions with forms, not words, with intuition, not intellectual stuff, with silence, not thoughts, with direct ideas, not with plans, with freedom, with easiness, lightness, spontaneity, beauty, etc.


I love that part of me.

I’ve been brought up with the other part, the “Cartesian” one. It gave me some structure, so it was good. Yet… boring.

Maybe it comes when you get older, I don’t know. Maybe it is what the famous “Let go” is all about. Maybe it is wisdom after all. Wouldn’t it be fun if wisdom was not all the serious stuff we have always been said it should be!?

There has to be spirituality in art. That’s what gives expression to the detachment you need. That’s what gives it an unlimited dimension.

And there has to be art with spirituality. Spirituality has to be fueled by creative energy. Nice spirituality is always renewed. It can never become stale. Otherwise, it dies. Then you become trapped in some kind of spiritual routine and you become a living advocate of the ghastly saying: “Life is tough and then you die!

To me, no question, true spirituality is fun as well as deep. Otherwise, I’d be doing something else!

Art is essential because when spirituality awakens your anima/animus, the shadow part of you is not far. And you have to acknowledge the shadow. Otherwise it will force itself upon you. The shadow and the anima are live forces. You cannot just put a lid on them thinking all problems solved. Doesn’t work that way!

That’s where art, whatever form of art, with or without talent, in or away from the eyes of others is your best friend. Away from the judgment of others is even better. Keep it incognito as much as possible! It’s not the end result that’s important, it is the doing. The joy of giving room to the right hemisphere, at last! Just for the sake of it!

At some point, I felt the need to paint, in my modest way, not at all to get exhibited or even to show what I was doing but because it felt right at the time and it gave a balance and a depth to my spiritual path.

Painting helped me look at spirituality in a new angle. And spirituality helped me detach from any kind of physical representation.

denise_scotto When I reached that freedom and spontaneity, it stopped (temporarily) and I switched to something else : Free image writing. Script writing. For fun.
Writing without borders. Writing on my bike in the woods in the morning.
Not really a conscious choice. Imagination just flows.

Let’s see how far it goes…

Filed in: Purpose

Comments (2)

  1. Vekee

    Thanks for this beautiful writing!
    Imagination is more important than knowledge?

    • Benoît Duché

      Imagination without knowledge is like water without a glass,
      Knowledge without imagination is like a glass without water.

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