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http://www.handsofalchemy.com

In 1979, while at the top of his career, New York artist Jerry Wennstrom destroyed all his art. An intense spiritual search led him back to art, and a documentary film has been made of the process. In the Hands of Alchemy will . . .

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2/4. David Whyte: Jerry Wennstrom, Finding Inspired New Life in Emptiness

Poet David Whyte draws on a poem by DH Lawrence to describe artist, author Jerry Wennstrom's journey through the void in the larger context of classic "artistic tradition." In 1979 Jerry Wennstrom took the ultimate artistic step -- he destroyed his large body of art, gave away his possessions and leapt into a creative void that required deeper faith and "trust in the Great Belonging." Jerry Wennstrom destroyed his life's work (all his paintings) when he saw that his art had become a "false god" to him. He looked instead find God and creativity in all that he did in everyday life. Following this experience Jerry lived with only what life presented to him. In Part Two, David Whyte's inspiring discourse is both gripping and challenging. Using poetry of Dante, DH Lawrence, and Keats, Whyte talks about the courage needed to face death in all its manifestations. Whyte quotes Dante from his "Divine Comedy:" "It the middle of the world of my life, I awoke in middle of the dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost." Whyte elaborates Dante was lost to the world, lost to himself and that there is a wisdom of allowing yourself to be lost in the world. "...there is a particular kind of attentiveness, and a particularly scintillating way in which you look at the world, which you would not have if you thought you knew where you were....If your life is at stake, you are looking for every clue to help you survive.... The artist who steps into this space actually feels like his life IS at stake. You could die, literally, or you could live in a completely different way. Your senses are alive to every moment and every thing that comes your way." -DW This decision "exiled Wennstrom from his discipline, exiled him from his inheritance, and cast him out into the dark." Thanks to Paul Adams and David Hoffman for use of their music "Zorro and the Fat Man." See http://www.pauladams.org to listen to this piece and others. For more information about Whyte visit www.davidwhyte.com. For more info about Jerry Wennstrom's recent art, films or his book, "The Inspired Heart" visit www.handsofalchemy.com David Whyte originally offered this testimony in the documentary film, "In the Hands of Alchemy: The Art and Life of Jerry Wennstrom" (Parabola and Sentient Publications videos).


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