V is for Van Gogh – Raven Oak

V is for Van Gogh

In today’s continuation of the A-Z Challenge, I give you:

V is for Van Gogh

Art has always weaseled its way into my world–either through my own creations or my love of nature, symmetry, and lines.

When I was a child, I was picky about art. Abstract art went over my head, but paintings with literal interpretations often bored me. My tastes and preferences changed as I aged, though it wasn’t until a particular episode of Doctor Who that I felt a connection to Van Gogh.

Starry Night by Vincent Van GoghBefore that, I thought he was the “swirly man” who either must have lived somewhere with crazy weather, or had massive eye trauma. While Starry Night is almost cliché at this point, it was the first Van Gogh piece I ever saw (I think I was seven). I remember thinking, if the sky was swirling like that, they must have been amidst a hurricane. Considering I’d just been through my first hurricane in Florida, it’s not too surprising that I thought that.

Seeing Vincent and the Doctor reminded me of Van Gogh’s mental illness and how easily people suffering get lost in their own darkness. Such wonderful beauty exists out in the world, but it’s hard to see it because depression lies. One quote in particular stood out to me:

[Van Gogh] transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world.”

For me, that is everything about art in a nutshell. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, as so many artists do, it’s often difficult to see beauty in the world. To take our pain and create works of art, works of beauty, is the reason for our existence (at least, to me it is). It’s certainly a way to combat mental illness.

This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays) in the month of May, I’ll be posting about people, places, books, games, and other things that influence me as a writer or add a certain magic to my life. Join me in April as we explore a Hodge-Podge of Influences & Wayward Treks through the Fantastical.

Read more of my A-Z Challenge posts here.

2 Replies to “V is for Van Gogh”

  1. Doctor Who, Van Gogh, the A-Z Challenge…this is a post that has everything! I like the younger version of you’s perspective on Starry Night. I can see how it worked.

    I’ve done the A-Z Challenge twice in the past. Best of luck with yours. 

    I also love Scrapple (and Mind Maps) and it’s from your Scrapple post I came here. I agree, it’s a wonderful tool.

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