Philip Berryman


Art Of Wishes

I have always maintained that there is no such thing as art. There are only artists producing things that give them pleasure, doing so under some compulsion, perhaps even finding the process painful, but deriving a masochist joy from it. Jeanloup Sieff

Compulsive it is! Try telling an artist of any creative discipline to not do what they feel driven to do. Our passion for art is relentless and utterly gratifying in so many ways. I am always amazed when people appear to dismiss the notion that art or design plays no part in their lives or that they are uninterested in art and design. The very moment you choose to purchase any item you are making a choice based on design and responding to the design of that item. It would be very hard to imagine a world where art plays absolutely no role whatsoever. Often people are quick to say they don’t understand art or ‘don’t get it’. I understand peoples need to understand art and design more than people who dismiss art and design as having no function or place in their lives. I do appreciate more that people feel they have to understand art. I remember at my art college an old school buddy came to visit me and I took him on a walk around the sculpture studios. He took a look at the students playing with clay models and creating cardboard scale models of buildings or figures and scoffed at the idea that they were just playing with plasticine like primary school children. I am sure he would not see it the same way now and I hope to think some of those young architects and sculpture students have gone on to success with their work in whatever fields and have found artistic acclaim or financial success in their fields. But for sure there was an ignorance shown to the importance of art and design in our lives or at least the process of creativity and production. Mindful too of the governments cut backs in schools and colleges in regards the arts and the long term damage this will have on us as a society. There is an increased emphasis on the core academic subjects and a reduction on resources for creative subjects like music, art, drama, design and technology. All of which will be very damaging to our society. I once sat next to a guy at a lunch party who informed me that in his opinion there should be absolutely no art, design or drama taught in schools, only maths and literacy. It took two waiters to remove the chopsticks that I had embedded in his head.

I am fascinated by how art can play a role in helping heal people’s suffering from depression, anxiety or other issues that plague them or inhibit their ability to lead a normal and balanced life. I know from my own experience that being surrounded by my paintings, my photography collection, books and even my odd bits of sculpture all allow me to live in a home that I feel is beautiful and this aesthetically pleasing, calming environment is welcoming and loving. During tough times I am often comforted by reading my books and looking at these beautiful items that generate warmth and a sense of being connected to something greater than me. I feel a real sense of harmony and contentment from living amongst such art. There is the healing potential of not only living with art but also the healing potential found in producing art. A very close friend of mine and her young daughter survived the horrific Grenfell fire disaster in London. Her daughter now uses art therapy in her primary school to try to come to terms with all she witnessed and experienced. Art therapy is very real and as a means of therapeutic intervention it’s a powerful tool for recovery and healing. Depression treatment is inherently about creation. Through interventions and compassionate support, you create new emotions, and behaviors. You create a greater capacity for love and confidence. It is about reconnecting with yourself and your surroundings and building a future in which you feel is different, more pleasing and harmonious than the past that connects you with your trauma. Again I know that my own journey through tough times has been massively helped and given a boost the moment I connect with any personal photography project and process of artistic creation. My own personal experience has taught me how absolutely crucial it is to embrace art therapy and see it as a powerful tool to aid recovery and build self esteem and fully respect its healing potential.

Todays photographic adventure was very much a celebration of all things arty and it took place not only in one of London’s most beautiful hotels but it was amongst a very impressive crowd of distinguished artists, dealers and collectors of art. Working for photographer Nick Harvey I was commissioned to photograph the Art of Wishes Fundraising Gala at The Dorchester Hotel. This event in partnership with Cartier is the creation of art collector, philanthropist and patron of the charity Batia Ofer and is aimed at raising money for The Make A Wish Foundation. International artists such as Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons and Gillian Wearing donated pieces of art that were sold in a silent auction on the night. The artwork especially created was aimed to capture the dreams of children who are fighting life-threatening diseases. An incredible 2.7 million was raised that night with distinguished guests in attendance such as lady Helen Taylor, collector and philanthropist Nasser Khalili and art gallery giant Larry Gagosian.

So wonderful and heart warming to think that such people came together and raised so much money to help such children. Art playing such an incredibly important role in our lives. So delighted the chap from that lunch was nowhere to be seen.