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by Sarah Lynn

No Boundaries” is exploding with color, something I particularly love in artworks. The blues, purples, and greens of the piece are relaxing and seem to flow in and around the image, while the peaches, yellows, and reds of the picture break up the scene in a way that only enhances its beauty. This beauty itself does not take one form—the piece is abstract. It can visually represent any number of things. I, for example, see a garden or a village celebrating some special event. Another person may see a lake or an underwater scene. What makes this piece unique is that the interpretation of the piece is different for each viewer.

I also love that this piece has no rhyme or reason in the direction the paint travels. It needs no explanation for its being. The artist, Christian Goh, calls his work “messy art.” Goh, who is on the Autism Spectrum with dysgraphia and dyspraxia, says he likes this type of art “because there is no right or wrong, no confusing rules to follow, and I do not need words to express Me.” His art is a form of escape from the rules that society imposes on everyday life. This, I think, is the reason art was created. When creating art allows the artist a moment to breathe away from the pressures of normative society, it has achieved its purpose. Just by looking at the image, you can tell the artist was letting his paintbrush move, not dictating where it went, but instead letting it tell him where to go.

I personally relate to this method of producing art. When I have too many things on my plate and just need a mental reset, I draw. Knowing I can take time to produce something created only for me to see and engage with is comforting. Drawing allows me to mentally step back, go on autopilot, and just zone out until the things cluttering my brain have left and I am able to refocus. Just like Goh, when I create art, I feel free to ignore the binary of right and wrong, ignore the rules society poses, and create without words. “No Boundaries” speaks to this need to distance yourself from societal standards.

The painting is also a visual reflection of empowerment for Goh. Self-empowerment in today’s society is so important. You can’t let anyone else tell you what to do, who to be, or how to act, or else your life is being dictated by another person. One of the boldest things you can do in life is stand your ground and insist on doing things your own way, as Goh has done in his “No Boundaries.” He combined colors and shapes in ways that he saw fit, to reflect his decisions as an artist without needing permission from society. While Goh's art appears similar to other historical types of painting, like impressionism or abstract impressionism, the fundamental beliefs behind his “messy art” are different from artists belonging to those movements. Both art forms were borne from artists’ dissatisfaction with society at the time of the art’s creation as well as dissatisfaction with past art forms. However, Goh’s “messy art” is borne from a much more personal need: to express himself in a way in which he feels comfortable. It is a prime example of self-empowerment: Goh is able to make his own decisions and create something which he enjoys and takes pride in.

I encourage you to learn from Goh’s work. Today, go create a piece of art that frees you up inside. Create something just for you that you think is a reflection of yourself. It should be up to you to decide what object, icon, or shape(s) represent you. Discover what drives your art like Goh has in “No Boundaries.”

About the Author: Sarah Lynn is a student at UC Santa Cruz studying art and art history. She has made art all her life and encourages Stone Soup readers to always follow their creative passions in life.

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