If ever there was a time to nurture creativity and honour all creatives it has to be now!
I get the sense our long quashed imaginative spirit is thirsting for expression and this is the book to do just that.
The Book of Creativity by Iranian-born artist Rassouli is a burst of colour in our world of uniformity and I, for one, embraced it as a gift to my soul.
Now living in Southern California, Rassouli is renowned for his stunning and highly original artworks, one of which splashes across the cover of this very attractively presented book. While painting is his milieu, Rassouli seems just as much a philosopher imbued with a mysticism that must have its origins in the Sufi traditions of his homeland, the old Persia. In fact, poems by the great Sufi poet Rumi are dotted through the chapters along with many others that add extra flavour to this appealing book.
As we can gather from the book’s subtitle, Rassouli’s mission is to encourage creativity in us all, even those of us who still protest that we don’t have a creative bone in our body. Through a process called Fusionart, he overcomes such stifling blockages to reach deep into the creative power of heart and soul.
Very early in the book, we realise that Rassouli is a true original - as an eight year boy given his first set of paints as a present he decided he didn’t like the effect produced by the brushes so he made his own - from cat hair which he painstakingly cut from the finest hair on neighbourhood animals he encouraged friends to bring him! He’d noticed how cat’s fur when wet made a perfect fine point. Somehow this story conveys the extraordinary focus that still propels him in a career encompassing writing, broadcasting, and holding retreats, as well as painting. Now he paints with his fingers and rags just as often as brushes and begins each new artwork on a canvas primed with black rather than the conventional white. As he sits and stares at the canvas, he finds his vision opens and an image begins to emerge.
Among the book’s many entertaining anecdotes, Rassouli tells of Michelangelo’s own description of how his statue of David came to fruition. Rather than him creating David from the stone, he (David) was already in the stone and Michelangelo’s role was simply to chip away the necessary parts to allow him to emerge. The great artist put his creation down to intuition.
Rassouli is conscious that so many people feel unable to express their creativity due to the pressures of working to pay the bills, or looking after a family while leading a busy life. He’s been there himself as a successful architect. But his message is to find stillness and allow your heart and soul to lead you wherever they guide you.
He shares another perceptive insight, this time from a “mystic” uncle whose advice he sought before leaving home for the United States as a teenager. It was to let the rational mind organise the available choices into two distinct categories and then let the heart choose between them. If Rassouli used his heart like a “compass”, the path would surely become clear to him.It’s advice that seems to have stood him in very good stead.
Rassouli will be visiting Sydney and Melbourne in May. Find details at http://rcmmanagement.com/rassouli/
Margaret Evans has a background in teaching, journalism and publishing. She is the editor of NOVA Holistic Journal.