Why Realistic Art in Hospitals

Nurse and patient Beijing

A Discussion Between My Head and My Heart

 

My Head:

You need to listen to me. Abstract art is the modern style.

 

My Heart:

Realistic art is what the common man understands and enjoys.

 

My Head:

But listen to me, abstract art is unexpected…it’s like a puzzle, you have to put it together to understand it.

 

My Heart:

Patients don’t need to be confused or frustrated…abstract art is confusing.

 

My Head:

Yeah man, that’s the point…we need to confuse them a little more, make art challenging.

 

My Heart:

Patients are confused enough, they should be comforted by soothing colors that present realistic subjects. Just as a butterfly is a butterfly…just as a kiss is just a kiss. Medical research confirms blues, greens and realistic scenes are soothing to the viewer…the patients. We paint for patients. Not for ourselves. Don’t you remember?

 

My Head:

No man, why not create a whole new experience for them?

 

My Heart:

Well, patients are not looking for a new experience in the middle of their pain and frustration, they are looking…seeking what is familiar to them…that’s why our art brings the outside inside… into blank sterile spaces. Something familiar to them. Interior designers understand this point, why don’t you?

 

My Head:

Yeah man, but people need new experiences…they want to have fun away from home.

 

My Heart:

Buddy, being in a hospital is not a fun experience…it’s serious. Realistic art makes it easy to understand what you are looking at…you see a butterfly…your brain says butterfly.   You can’t think of two things at once. You think butterfly…not pain.

 

My Head:

Now wait a minute, you can use all the logic on me you wish, but your logic is actually based on a dream…a dream to make art of human value. You are chasing a dream…dreams aren’t real.

 

My Heart:

I’m chasing this dream to paint a brighter world. It’s a shared dream…patients, families and medical staffs have smiled for the first time in months as they joined others to paint the blank walls and ceilings that surround them. Painting realistic scenes creates smiles. Abstract art creates frustration. We’re painting out the pain with each brush stroke.

 

My Head:

I’m only interested in what’s cool dude…you know…what modern art galleries are interested in selling. The Now Art.

 

My Heart:

Let me tell you about the Now…Dude. I stayed in a nursing home and painted at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco. In front of my eyes, I saw the future. For many old people…and for sure cancer patients…the future is NOW…and it can be sad and bleak.   The walls are crying.   There are no reminders of the beauty of life on the walls. Art is full of grace.   When we finish painting, we kiss their tears and walk out the door. We need to leave something to show we care and love them. Art can love. Art is grace.

 

My Head:

You can’t compete with Abstract Art.

 

My Heart:

We are not competing with Abstract Art.   The universe is conspiring to help us. Thousands of volunteers, patients, families and medical staffs are picking up the brush with the hope that their painting will create a smile. Abstract art would only create frustration.

 

My Head:

But, Abstract Art can take art to another level…one enjoyed by sophisticated art lovers.   My Heart: Fine, let them take it…while we take the color of love and the familiar into places where they need art the most…hospitals and nursing homes.

We must follow our hearts.

 

John Feight