Artist George Redhawk (born in California and now residing in France) has been turning heads in recent months with his inspirational and unique collaborations.
George’s work attempts to recreate the vivid hallucinations that he experiences as a result of Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS), a disease that is common amongst patients with partial or severe blindness. Using software to aid the visually impaired, George is able to apply fluid-like, vacillations onto preexisting images to create something that is truly awe-inspiring. Now coined the “Redhawk Effect” by the artistic community, George’s signature style has led to his meteoric (and celebrated) rise within the art world.
A former medical professional, George has now dedicated his work to the creation of these fascinating images.
Prox: You’ve gotten the opportunity to apply the Redhawk Effect to the work of many different artists. What has this kind of collaboration shown you about the artistic community? Was it surprising to see how well received your work has been in recent months?
George: Nothing I do would be possible without the immense generosity and support of so many talented artists! The idea that anyone actually enjoyed my artistic expression came as a complete surprise to me, but when the artists of the original work began to reach out to me in support and to ask me to do more in collaboration with them, it was an overwhelming surprise which to this day fills my heart with such love and gratitude that they would embrace me and welcome me into their world. This gratitude not only is extended to the artist, but the media, art magazines, bloggers who have featured my story and work, and all the amazing people across the internet who give me constant support and share my work all over the net!
Prox: Something that immediately caught my eye about your work is how the fluid movements and aesthetic of your pieces mirror elements found within the psychedelic experience. Have you ever experimented with or considered using psychedelics?
George: Ha Ha, yes I have heard many who associate my work with their psychedelic experiences and in reality, it is representative of a specific hallucinogenic experience that many in the blind community have. The condition is known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS). Early on in my journey into blindness, I began to experience this and attributed it to my mind's nonacceptance of the idea that not enough data was being sent from my eyes and my mind began to compensate by "filling in the blanks" with an ever-changing, morphing, transitioning of false information as my mind tried to determine what I was "seeing" and was projecting it to me as "vision". I recently discovered a YouTube video of a woman in the UK as she described her experience with CBS, and if you listen to her, it sounds like she is describing my art.
As for my own history of use of illicit substances, i think I will go with the famous quote of former President Bill Clinton "I smoked marijuana, but i din't inhale", ha ha ha!
Prox: How has the loss of your sight improved your relationship with your inner self? What are some spiritual insights you’ve gained and things you’ve learned about yourself from when you initially started losing your sight, up until now?
George: Like many people who have dedicated themselves to a career, particularly my chosen path of dedicating myself to the alleviation of human suffering through a career in the field of medicine, i believed that I was "defined" by my job and career. The loss of this and the effect it had on me cannot be described in words. I was left with a sense that I had loss my "self" and that for all logical purposes, i had died. I felt trapped in a prison from which I knew there would be no escape. My blindness forced me to reevaluate what truly defines me to myself, and to make choices in how i would travel the path which was laid before me... how would i wish to be remembered...and how I would look upon myself.
Prox: You were heavily involved in medicine earlier in your career. Now that you are no longer practicing professionally, do you see your artwork as a new kind of medicine for yourself and others?
George: In order to move forward, I believe it is sometimes necessary to completely let go of the past. I often refer to my work in Medicine as my "previous life", just as I do with just about all aspects of my life in the sighted world. For me, it was necessary to make a radical change and I was very fortunate to have met a very special someone who could see beyond my disability and gave me a new chance at life half a world away in France. I am of course referring to my wife Marie.
Moving to France gave me the opportunity to begin again. For me it was very important to be away from those who knew me as a sighted person. As with most things, there are always two perspectives. Those who knew me in my sighted life look upon me and feel sadness and pain, and say "wow, what a tragedy". Those who meet me and only know me as a blind person look upon me and say "wow, look how well is doing". Both are correct. My art is not an extension of my previous life and I don't look upon it as a form of healing for myself or others. It is an expression of the physical and emotional challenges which I still have not found a voice to express.
Prox: Have you developed a greater interest in neurobiology in recent years? Has researching your condition helped to alleviate some of the difficulties associated with it?
George: My interest in many areas of medicine will always be a part of my life. Throughout my career, advancement occurs so rapidly and so continuing education is always a huge part of any area of medicine. Just to maintain medical licenses, continuing education credits have to be provided to the licensing bodies continuously. I actually loved the constant education needed to be a part of the medical field, lol.
When I was in clinical practice, I would miss teaching. And when I would be teaching, I would miss clinical practice. So I spent my career, alternating between the two and would switch directions every couple of years out of FOMO (fear of missing out) ha ha ha! But it is not out of some hope that a cure will be found for myself, but more of the excitement I have always experienced to see advancements being made to benefit so many others. I have literally taught and trained hundreds of medical professionals in various areas of medicine. It is time for me to pass the torch onto them with the hope that my love and dedication to the care of their patients was passed onto them.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?
George: This is a difficult question. I have so many favorite and inspirational artists who I am proud to call friends from all over the world! But if i had to mention a few, they would include Antonio Mora, Gregoire A. Meyer, Adam Martinakis, Werner Hornung, Thomasz Alen Kopera, Bojan Jevtic, Misha Gordin, Janusz Jurek, Luminokaya, Professor Marco Escobedo, Glenn Marshall, Eitan Vitkon, Cameron Gray, Federico Bebber... and so many others!
Prox: Favorite Hobbies?
George: Like most of the blind community, i need assistance for most everything i do and like most, that assistance come from family members. I am fortunate to have a family member who is always willing, able, and dedicated to providing assistance to me_ my Malamute, Shish-Inday. When I am not on the computer, he and i spend our days exploring the forest area at a river near our home which leads to the beach on the French Riviera. We enjoy hiking, swimming, playing, interacting with the local French people. And being from southern California, I am always ready to light up the Bar-b-cue and spend time with my wife's family or to travel with them for a trip to lakes and forests in the region. In the winter, we like to go play in the snow in the local mountains.
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
George: As it was never my intention to become an "artist", the only advice I can offer to aspiring artists is not be afraid to release the emotions you feel in your heart. Technical skills are needed to set you on the path, but once you learn that, let it go and release your deepest emotions. Permit the art to take you where it will take you.
Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?
George: I recently did a televised interview with Magical Mind TV with support from Okto TV, Austria. They are planning a "part 2" which may air in October. As digital displays become more common, there is much demand for my work in various directions. I am currently working with some major fashion labels on advertising displays, I am doing some work which could lead to virtual reality applications, I am hopeful that i may be able to contribute to work being done with the Pepsi Dome, promotional work in Hollywood, and will be featured at several major fashion events such as the CPM Moscow coming in September, as well as many other commercial opportunities which I have signed confidentiality agreements and cannot disclose at this time... but stay tuned, I am a very busy guy these days and there is more to come! There is even talk of a possible documentary in the works...
Prox: Final Thoughts?
George: The art world, in all its forms, is the perfect example of the purpose of the internet. The idea of so many talented and brilliant minds sharing information, working together, collaborating together, and truly producing something amazing that could not be done individually should be an example of all that can be accomplished in the world if we all just work together to make it a reality.
You can learn more about George and follow him, here.
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