Parkinson's and A Passion For Art! - PMD Alliance
The setting was a pizza restaurant in suburban Arizona, the occasion a PMD Alliance Get Out! social night. I didn’t think the conversation would turn to abstract expressionism, but ten minutes after meeting Ed and Eva Ciolina, our table was past small talk and engrossed in discussing the transformative power of art. Eager to know more and share with our audience, I recently sat down with my new artist friend to talk about his work and how, in some ways, his Parkinson’s diagnosis was a beginning, not an end.

“How would you describe your work and your artistic style?”

“My style is the follow-up to abstract expressionism.

There is a lot of passion in my paintings; they are mystical, almost iconographic.  The colorful artworks are showing my characteristically hand, and I love large formats where I find room to express himself. I am inspired by the daily life, by the world news, and other emotions. Hidden in my pictures is always a philosophical content; but most of the visitors watching say “ICN”, I see nothing!

When I paint, it’s like bringing birth to my art. I hold no attachment to any technique, timeframe or outcome. I just do whatever I feel doing, without question or judgment, an entirely open and inhibited vehicle. I feel like I am a tool when I am painting, just hoping for the outcome. At last the painting tells me when it is alive. It is Excitement and satisfaction same moment – each time, just as it would be my first or last creation.”

“How does Parkinson’s affect your work?”

“Because of my tremor I have to stay with large formats.

Sometimes I feel like there is someone standing behind me finishing the work. He tells me even when to stop. Mostly these are my best paintings.”

“I know your wife is supportive – how is she involved in your art?”

“When I finish my painting I show it to my wife. On her face I can already read if she gives thumbs up or down. Sometimes it is painful, but mostly, after thinking about it, and after making some corrections to my painting, I agree to her criticism. Sometimes I also overpaint my work. If necessary she is cutting mats and I am framing it myself.

My wife organized several shows in our area . We showed several paintings in the Fountain Hills Community Center, the Fountain Hills Town Hall, and the Fountain Village, At the Olney Gallery and the University Club in Phoenix.”

“What does being an artist mean to you?”

“Not only that I relax and can express myself, I also try to inspire others, patients and all art lovers, to look at my art, slow down. Give the images a chance to work their magic. Take your time. Become divine.”

” What would you say to someone diagnosed with Parkinson’s who has never been creative or artistic before?”

“I read in an essay, what I can confirm:  They are Three Laws of Art:”

  1. The worst it can do is suck.
  2. Create again. Bad art happens to good artists.
  3. Just create: Art is cheaper than therapy

Ed Ciolina, his first name is in real “Erhard”, is known by his friends as “Ed”. He is a permanent resident of Fountain Hills in Arizona/USA. Before he immigrated to the US he lived in Germany. His passion for art, especially paintings, began already very early as a teen. While three times circling the globe he visited major museums and toured art galleries and exhibitions wherever possible; his favorite became the contemporary art. He was always addicted to art; this way he met his wife as a student, who became a PhD in History of Art. When he retired both chose Arizona for their new home. Ed was in the 60s when diagnosed with Parkinson’s. As a new challenge he himself began painting. He immediately felt purpose in life again, hoping this is a way out of the disease. Painting is meditation to him and the results are sometimes amazing. His style is the follow-up to abstract expressionism and he does it quite well.

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