Healing Art - Art on the walls of a hospital makes you feel better. I had the good fortune of being chosen as the artist in 2011 to display “healing art” photographs in the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Neurology in Houston. This permanent display consists of 45 photographs printed in sizes ranging from 20x30 inches to 48x36 inches - half printed on canvas and the other half on aluminum. They are displayed in waiting areas, hallways, conference rooms and offices and examination rooms. By displaying my pictures in the clinic, it is hoped that patients will not only enjoy, but also understand for themselves, the healing benefits of art, I enjoyed creating this exhibit for people who, like me, are there seeking treatment for a neurological disorder, like my Parkinson's Disease, and for their families and care providers.
Here is a review by Buzz magazine in Houston followed by my thoughts about the book: http://thebuzzmagazines.com/articles/2016/07/life-good
I have written and published a book about my 15 year battle with Parkinson’s disease. The subtitle is where we have a chance to defeat debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s. We can’t do anything about having the disease, but we can, by God, not let it ruin today, maybe tomorrow, but not today.
I believe that life is good, that beauty is all around us, though we have to look for it, that we need to live as much as possible in the present and that time is precious. Parkinson’s disease gave me the gift of time to learn to take photographs that hopefully will give you some peace, joy, love and laughter. So the book is full of the best pictures I have taken over the last 10 years and the ways that I have tried to cope with my disease. Attached is a flyer from the publisher about the book.
The book is available from all major bookstores for $34.95. I am also selling the book online for the same price, with the added benefit that I will write whatever you wish along with my signature in the front of the book. You can purchase the book at: http://squareup.com/store/robertflatt
Here is a link to a video of the exhibit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdTaGwY6seI These photographs have been published in a book by Bright Sky Press which scan be previewed and purchased at: http://www.squareup.com/store/robertflatt
The subtitle is "Don't Let Anything Ruin Your Day'' because I think that is where we have a chance of defeating debilitating disease. We cannot change the fact that we have the disease, but we can by God not let it ruin today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.
My relationship with both the Department of Neurology and the collection of images that hang there both began in 1999, soon after I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Dr. Joseph Jankovic at the Baylor College of Medicine became my neurologist and my lifelong friend helping me battle this disease. During my examinations, I began giving him large format prints of my photography. He and his staff framed them and hung them in their offices.
Dr. Eli Mizrahi, Chairman of the Neurology Department at Baylor College of Medicine, became familiar with my photographs during visits to Dr. Jankovic's offices, when the Neurology Department moved to a new space, they decided to display my photographs.
Art can be an important part of the healing process. I have learned this first hand. Dr. Mizrahi and Dr. Jankovic hope that patients will not only enjoy, but also understand for themselves the healing benefits of art, and how it can affect the autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance, brain neurotransmitters, the immune system, and the blood flow to all organs in the body.
Once I saw the impact my images had in the clinic, I got the idea to write a book, or really a book-within-a-book. The reader would first encounter it as a photography book that contains images that hang at the BCM Neurology Department, as well as others that I believe have the same healing energy. Along with these photographs of moments that have had such healing power for me would be encouraging words-- a collection of vignettes, battle plans and thoughts for coping with a debilitating disease.
The idea was for a person faced with the disease to pick the book up from time to time and get inspired to not let it ruin his day -- both from the beauty the photographs capture and the words from someone who has walked, perhaps not in that person’s particular shoes, but along a similar path.
Once I began showing early drafts of Healing Art to others, I began to see how the beauty that can heal the spirit of a person dealing with the challenges of a neurological disease also can heal the spirit of a caretaker--or anyone who encounters debilitating struggles.
Whatever your current situation, I hope you will enjoy these pictures. I enjoyed creating the original exhibit for people who, like me, seek treatment for a neurological disorder, like my Parkinson's Disease, and for their families and care providers. And I have enjoyed creating this book for you. Perhaps it will make you smile.
Life is good!
Robert Flatt 2015