In 2013, I experienced a sudden artistic eruption – the first in July and the second in October – that unleashed astonishing new abilities to instantaneously paint and play the piano.
Now, just over a year later, as clarity about what happened emerges, I am able to think more coherently about my sudden eruption, and to express it better to myself and others.
Researching sudden and remarkable creativity, I came across “sudden savant” phenomenon.
This led me to Darold Treffert, a Wisconsin psychiatrist who has been studying Savant Syndrome for over 40 years and is considered the world’s leading expert on this rare condition.
The author of Islands of Genius:The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant, Dr. Treffert was also a consultant to the movie, Rain Man, which helped bring the world of the savant into public awareness.
I wrote to Dr. Treffert and we have been corresponding about my situation.
His insights and writings have greatly increased my understanding.
I am now delighted to call myself a Sudden Artist.
My sudden artistic eruption revealed that I know things I have never learned about painting and the piano.
I have no study or training in painting or the piano and before my sudden artistic eruption had zero interest in either.
Yet my paintings flow forth in radiant colors and are effortlessly completed in minutes.
My piano pieces also flow forth effortlessly and are recorded live as they erupt.
Live recording is essential because, mysteriously, each piece erupts once only – it is a one-time phenomenon I do not repeat.
By autumn 2014, I had erupted more than 170 original acrylic on canvas paintings and over 50 instantaneous piano pieces.
I have many questions about my sudden artistic eruption, especially the phenomenon of knowing things I have never learned and the sudden ability to confidently express this knowing.
Dr. Treffert talks of ancestral memory, genetic memory.
Does this mean my very mixed bag of genes might play a role?
I was born in Jakarta to a Scots father and Dutch-Indonesian mother and my heritage reveals I carry the genes of seven different countries.
But why did it take close to six decades for my sudden artistic eruption to manifest?
Does my spiritual bent or my life close to nature provide ideal conditions to nurture a sudden artistic eruption?
Could it be that my sudden artistic eruption is not so much a savant phenomenon as a mystical awakening?
In Japan I encountered a long period of Japanese family trauma and stress, during which I might have had a slight head injury.
Was the physical structure of my brain affected?
There is evidence that left brain changes can affect the left brain’s ability to exert control.
When this happens the right brain is able to release more of its innate creative power.
Was I suddenly freed from the “tyranny” of my left brain?
Is my sudden artistic eruption a phenomenon accessible to anyone at any point in life?
If so, what conditions might help spark this creative explosion within us?
How did I awaken what Dr. Treffert calls, “the little Rain Man within each of us”?
While the writer in me enjoys posing these questions, I am quite happy to let others debate and decide how to describe my phenomenon.
My life since my sudden artistic eruption is fully and unabashedly being the continuing mystery of my instantaneous art and music.
I can only be and live this personal truth.
My sudden artistic eruption granted me access to new and wondrous worlds of color, composition, harmony, as well as incredible joy and continuously evolving creativity.
I am grateful each day for this unlocking of the sudden artist within.