Amnon M.

Where are you from?

I am 56yrs old and was born in Kfar Saba. At 9yrs old, my parents said they cannot take care of me and that I will have to fend for myself. My father was an alcoholic. So basically, from that day, although I had a bed in my parents’ house, my life was the street. I learned everything in the street. Standard things your parents tell you, I would ask strangers. They would say, you should ask your parents. I replied that I did not really have parents to ask. There was no one there.

What is your background?

Since age 11, I was in boarding school. While I was there, I lost connection with reality. Probably due to traumas from my father and from boarding school. I stuttered so badly, I almost never spoke. Until age 46, I was essentially autistic, almost totally disconnected. Until I came here to Beit HaYotzer – then I started to open up. I really enjoy observing nature. I can sit with a cup of coffee and just stare at the leaves of a tree, enjoying how they move in the breeze. Nature is our roots. Whatever God created is nature. It is pure and connects us to our inner child. Before I came here, I lived as an imposter. In fact, I did not live. I was lost to myself. I was just existing. Surviving.

What is your process when creating in different mediums?

Then I started in art here at Beit Hayotzer. I had been told I had an eye for color but only my art came out of nowhere – slowly pouring out of me. And me pouring out through the art. Since I started, I do it every day. I paint in acrylic and do mosaic, glass, paper machet, sculping in clay and painting on wood. Each style gives me something I lacked in my youth. If it is painting, it’s using my hands and being free to enjoy being covered in paint. I paint from my gut. Sometimes I can work on a painting for weeks, sometimes months. Sometimes I need to step away and sit with it for a while – ponder, muse, add. It all takes time. Even more so when I work in mosaic. Here I am completely focused on the complexity and order of it. I can work for months on a mosaic. It teaches me patience and maturity. In glass, it is the craft, the skill and the challenge of the medium.

What does creating art mean to you?

When I am creating, the art is in control, not me. Whatever comes out is what wants to come out. I just need to let it happen and not get in the way. I feel like when my hands are creating art, the art is creating me. It is all the things I could never feel or experience as a child. In my art I feel no fear. For me, art is the revelation of a child. It is endless, total freedom and no borders, where everything is acceptable. I believe the purpose of art is to awaken the inner child in us all, to touch our emotions, awaken places within and help people feel. Art is to touch happiness and peace.