Rod Sokal: Art Becomes Therapy During Battle With Parkinson's

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There is a quote on Rod Sokal's website that reads "... I thought my art lost. Then inspired, I chose to create. Thus through stubbornness, pain, and love I birthed the Pictric Odissi. Welcome to my journey". This simple text shines light on the courage and determination that Sokal's carries with him on his journey. Sokal is an artist at heart and a fighter by nature's choice. Sokal battles Parkinson's disease. The disease has shown him the beauty of art and inspiration, while also depicting the cruel reality of modern medicine. He says "Modern medicine in my opinion is barbaric and lacks humanity. When I was trying to discover what ailed me, I was treated like a lab rat and I felt expendable. I will never forget the doctor listing possible causes after a series of tests. Numerous causes were fatal in short order. On top of that callousness, he then informed me I’d hear something in 3-4 weeks. I’ll never forget that feeling. His cold distant staff only acknowledged their need for my co-pay while ignoring the pure misery exuding from me. I died a little inside that night as I walked home. I’ve never felt more alone."

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While battling the "involuntary tremors, pain, depression and nausea", Sokla discovered his love for photography. When symptoms come on, he compensates "with tripod, hot lights fast shutter and great models. Although he has no formal training, photography has become a way for him to discover and express "the elusive feelings and images of my perspective. I love imagining, then experimenting until I create my vision." Art has grown to be his therapy. "I create from what I’m feeling. I’m in pain, losing muscle control, and single. So I express the strength that creates and the fears it builds. Every piece exposes me to another being and to my inner self. My favorite discovery so far is that its not whether they love you, but if that love fits into your definition of love.

When asked what inspires him, his candid answer illustrates his strong character; "People, their love, pain conflict tinted by my own perspective. In life, its not always convenient to feel purely. I am very lucky because I translate my feelings into images. A byproduct of this (Parkinson's) is I’m forced to not hold back." His advice to new artists speaks directly to the hearts of fellow artists;"don’t try and create a masterpiece, just dream, and feel. If this facilitates the creation of a masterpiece so be it.

To check out more of Rod's work, you can visit his website here>>