GROWTH – embrace your limits

This dynamic painting is full of energy, as if Bruce Lee was moving right out towards you. It is composed of flickering spots – and if you look closely and read about the painting, you find out that it was painted not with a brush, but with karate chops!Why this unusual method? In his TED talk, Phil Hansen tells his story – in art school he was particularly interested in the pointillist style and created his art with thousands of tiny, accurate dots. Until he developed a shake in his hand and could no longer do all these fine dots. A neurologist diagnosed a nerve damage that cannot be cured.

Devastated, he could very well have abandoned his art career at this point. Instead, he decided to embrace the shake. He started creating artwork with scribbling instead of dots. He found out that his best works form when he is in some way limited in his resources. “We have to first be limited, to become limitless”, he says, and sets himself parameters such as to create a painting only with karate chops and paint on his bare hands.

This karate-chop painting shows his struggle as well as the strength he showed by conquering his neurological damage. It is a prime example of how you can accept and grow into the obstacles that life provides.


Artwork: Phil Hansen, 2007, “Bruce Lee”. See more details and a video of the making on his website

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