By the time I graduated in 2007, I had become interested in the theme of counter culture and agreed with the observation that people were living in anxious times with loneliness the disease of the age. “Whilst society was advancing, you could also see that many people were suspended in an ongoing stream of visual, oral, auditory, psychic and subliminal manipulation. Everything that was initially static now moved, that which was obscured was now exposed, social fear was competing with social urge, which was resulting in individuals becoming increasingly isolated and confused”.
My interests therefore became more concerned with portraying these concepts through my paintings which featured elements of the loss of totality, the non-existence of a stable human being and with that, the attendant raw emotional states that were running beneath the surface. I considered my work a metaphor for this conflicting fragmentation and represented this complex struggle to maintain balance. Each piece I created portrayed the endlessly recurring cycle of negativity that was permanently re-enforced to suffocate us mentally. I started making abstract pieces that represented how I felt and showed how humans were caught up in a metaphorical, highly oppressive, dark mass – our societal structure from which it is difficult to break out of and which runs parallel to our divine coordinated natural order.
Painting for Upliftment
Following on from my own overwhelming negative situation of helplessness and depression, I started a new body of work that was to be more sensitive in response to the realities of society’s condition. The overriding principles within my ideas were now instead about division, nihilism, lethargy and aphathy …and how this could be overcome.
I imagined and tried to picture the interconnectedness between people, whilst embracing and affirming life. I really wanted to communicate this idea of intensified, sophisticated simplicity, and at the same time make room for what is wild, powerful, sensual and beautiful to bring about an intriguing, lyrical interplay.
During this process I purposefully eradicated the outer chaos of fear, guilt and shame that was influencing me so I could present my work in a more light, warm, and uplifting light, and that was more reflective of our true perfection. During this process I developed a fresh approach which turned out to be quite unique, colourful and free-flowing. I then started specializing in dynamic, tactile, multi-layered and patterns, whilst reflecting on our constant transition and physical complexity. My paintings have since become instantly recognizable through their bold approach, powerful, energetic brush strokes and vibrant texture.
Self-Realisation versus Self-Annihilation
After engaging myself intensively in spiritual studies, I came to know that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights and feats of awareness. But sadly man no longer lives up to this description. There are no more dreams for man but a dream of an animal who is being raised in captivity to become trite, conventional, and imbecilic. The world today has made us sedated, obedient, meek and weak. We have given our power away and have become covetous, greedy, and cowardly. I believe that we must give up this complacency, routine and egomaniacal behaviour, to fight the battle within through the disciplining of the mind.
I personally took myself to a long meditation retreat to face my internal demons and then tried to bring my experience into my work. My aim was to capture perfection from a universal perspective and create compositions that were characterized with a deft boldness, exuberant energy, graceful elegance, and most of all - enormous movement.
Art as Healing as a principle
It is now widely recognised that the arts have a positive impact on wellbeing for all of us. I strongly believe that it is possible to address any mental health issues through art. With art you can inspire people when they are confronted with serious health issues or personal crises, whether the pain is physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual. It certainly helped me to take control back into my life by not allowing me to give-in to despair.
I believe true health can only come when one is in a positive emotional state of mind, with an acceptance and natural love for one’s body. Only then dynamic wellbeing, childhood exuberance, boundless energy and a zest for life can develop.
I see my work as an expression of my new-won freedom from the oppressive, dead-end, lifestyle I was born into. In a sense my artistic journey has been a therapeutic one, where I have gradually found my own inner nature and learnt to love and accept myself and my body.
“…Celebrate the essence of your inner beauty; take care of- and get comfortable with your own self; have drive, energy and passion. We are beautiful, powerful, and extraordinary! “
When I first started selling work, I found that my paintings were extremely well received by people, who dealt with correcting and healing the body in their profession. For example, chiropractic and massage practitioners, alternative health clinics, treatment rooms, spas, sports centres, dance clubs and even life coaching practices. I wondered why? I then realized that I had this incredible gift for visual expression that I could use to communicate ideas of total health, joyful living and happiness. People can meditate on my work, as it concentrates on being ‘light and fluid’ and assumes no boundaries of the human body and mind. In other words, one is not confined to ones physical form alone, but rather, we are each connected to all that is.
How does the body heal through art?
I transfer all that I’ve learned from my esoteric studies into my paintings. My art is about re-connecting to our original, beauty and energy, and to stay powerful and in a state of love. I want to communicate to people that they can achieve the same level of sensuality, energy, love and joy they see in my paintings by becoming more self-aware, sensitive, mindful and gentle again.
I was never strong and independent, but rather weak and nervous – physically and mentally totally unequipped for life. Yet everybody has commented on the powerful energy and exuberant liveliness that has become visible in my work.
I am now a strong believer in the power of thought and that our ‘unconsciousness’ is paramount - in ways we cannot even imagine. I feel by working very intuitively I can trigger what is already known to me and thus create highly attractive and luminous work. By focusing on contrasting elements such as silence and dynamic, I try to create art pieces that reflect a state of heightened awareness yet conscious presence. It is here that one can feel a deep stillness, peace and joy, and simultaneously realise sensations of intense aliveness, power and radiance.
However, it is imperative to connect to the creative spirit first in order to heal and to see what we are really working on in this lifetime. This means overcoming ‘victimhood’ and gaining autonomy. The majority of people are probably not aware of that right now and perhaps need to be reminded of this before they begin transitioning. I believe therefore that this is partly my responsibility to portrait this possibility, after all, art is about spiritual connection and should be seen as inspiration for what not yet is. I understand that my role in this existence is to be a creator of ‘inspirational beauty’.
One of the beliefs that contemporary culture subscribes to today is that art is purely aesthetic and will never change the world. I believe however, that when art actively engages with people’s issues, it is able to respond to whatever it touches, and is therefore helping to create a more beautiful world. We need to care for the soul and if we know that the soul is nurtured by beauty, then we will consider the concept of beauty more deeply and give it a more relevant place in our lives.
My website: www.annett-bank.co.uk for more info on my art.
Read the full article in the Artist Profile in Vol 1 Issue 30