And Now for Something Completely Different

Van Gogh, "Self Portrait"

When I mentioned having a print of “Starry Night” in my apartment, I’m sure some of you thought how cliche!  Why yes, it is somewhat ubiquitous.  That painting, however, has a very special meaning to me.  It probably means a lot to many people.  Sometimes I think that’s what makes great art – the fact that this one piece of work can resonate with people all over the world and over one hundred years.  So here’s my “Starry Night” story.

Van Gogh painted that masterpiece around four in the morning one night.  He put onto canvas what he saw from his asylum window.  Sometimes I’ve felt like I’m the one in the asylum.  Without going into too much detail, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m diagnosed with some mental illness.  I’ve had the poster ever sine I was a little girl.  I’ve had mental illness my entire life.  I’m not sure I always acknowledged that the painting gave me hope.  It’s a simple idea, but how beautiful is it that someone like Van Gogh, with seemingly nothing to live for, could look out his window and still find meaning?  It helps me to remember there is always beauty.

Let’s talk about Van Gogh himself for a moment.  Like countless artists, the suicidal Borromini and reportedly depressed Picasso to name a few, Van Gogh had a mind that worked…differently.  The truth is we would be without some of our most important architecture, painting, and sculpture if we didn’t have these mentally ill artists.  It’s funny that there is so much stigma surrounding these issues today when it’s not hard to find the contributions of those affected.

I’d love to hear stories of a piece of art that you have a special connection to!

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