Art is good for your health

Art does more than just hang around on walls

Regardless of whether you’re an avid collector or just enjoy a good painting, admiring art is good for your health and has no known harmful side effects!

Looking at Sliding Doors by Banx 1800x900mm
Looking at Sliding Doors by Banx 1800x900mm MC6474

Professor Grossi of the University of Milan and his team conducted an experimental evaluation of the impact of aesthetic experiences.  They specifically focused on the impact looking at artwork has on stress and general wellbeing.

Their research found that looking at art in the vault of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, Italy reduced participants cortisol levels by an astonishing 60%. Cortisol is a hormone which is mainly released during times of stress.  It is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of each kidney. It is released in response to threats and stressful situations.

To measure this response researchers took samples of participants saliva before and after witnessing the artwork.

Experiencing the artwork in the vault of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte reduced participants stress levels by over half.  In addition to the decrease in cortisol present in participants saliva, 90% of participants reported feeling better after looking at the artwork.

Speaking to The Daily Mail Professor Grossi commented, “The idea of art therapy is not new. But this is the first time that the beneficial effect of art on health has been measured.”

Similarly, a study conducted by the University of Westminster found that stress levels decreased after lunchtime visits to an art gallery.  Participants of this study self reported their stress levels before and after a 35 minute tour of the gallery and also had lower levels of cortisol.

Artwork hanging on walls has also been thought to improve moral in the workplace.  It is thought the artwork encourages right brain activity through visual stimulation, resulting in increased productivity.

In addition to reducing stress looking at art stimulates the senses and provokes emotional responses.  It introduces new ideas and encourages debate, opening our eyes to what is around us. Artwork has the ability to show us what is possible and inspires us to try.

Art exercises the mind by connecting synapses. It brings people together through lively debate. Art is good for the heart and soul. In short, art is good for our health and has no known harmful side effects.

It turns out gazing at beautiful artwork is not just good for your soul but your physical health too.

The Scientific Abstract by Professor Grossi

We provide an experimental evaluation of the impact of aesthetic experiences in terms of stress reduction (cortisol levels) and wellbeing increase. The test experience is a visit to the vault of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, Italy. Data have been collected using a double step method. A structured interview in relation to the individual subjective wellbeing has been submitted to a sample of 100 subjects. In addition, a sample of their saliva has been taken, and its cortisol level measured, before and after the experience, and likewise for momentary wellbeing measured on a Visual Analogous Scale (VAS). Subjects reported an average increase of 40% in wellbeing and a decrease of the 60% in the cortisol level. The recorded cortisol level drop values are well beyond the decrease normally associated to its circadian cycle. The modulating role of various variables has been appreciated, and profiling of the typical subjects who are wellbeing respondents/non-respondents and cortisol respondents/non-respondents has been carried out. We conclude that aesthetic experience seems to have a noticeable impact on individual physical and mental health. The study underlines the potential of the arts and culture as a new platform for public health practices and new approaches to welfare policy design.

The Art of Walking – the people you meet…

Lady in Blcock Street Market with inflated balloons around her in the shape of a horse.
People we meet in Bulcock Street Market, Caloundra

Banx and I got chatting on the back deck the other morning after our respective “different paths” walks up here on the stunning Sunny Coast.. it’s not just beautiful Mother Nature, birds, animals, trees, flowers we come across and observe with interest on our walks… its those other funny things we walk past called PEOPLE! 🙂

“I changed my walking route. The people on the Caloundra section after Shelly Headland aren’t as friendly as on the Currimundi track” said Banx.

“Really?” I queried “but surely you don’t go on walks to make friends?”

“Of course not, quite the opposite, we’re all in our own worlds on the track but it’s nice to be able to look up nod and say good morning to a fellow passer-by and get a friendly response – to be momentarily all part of this community” he replied politely.

It got me thinking and really observing and noticing on my subsequent walks after that! And he’s right – there’s categories of walkers on both tracks … some really make me giggle:

The avoider

…these are the walkers who avoid eye contact at all costs, or maybe if you’re lucky you get a cursory very fast sideways glance, but mainly heads down and the job of walking to be getting on with focus and purpose (sometimes with posh branded gym T-shirts and headphones on – gotta block out those waves and bird noises at all costs!)

The over-friendly

You accidentally make eye contact with the friendly old fella who waves you over, thinking its an emergency you briskly follow his hand gestures, only to find out he’s griping about the Council’s rubbish bin collection and before you know it you’re trying to extricate yourself from a political discussion 🙂

The path hoggers

Usually the whole family of seven plus bikes and dogs stop in the middle of the walking path to discuss what everyone wants for breakfast – it’s just easier to walk the one kilometre around them  – Banx threads his way through them and my darling 95 year old Mum stops altogether and they part like the Red Sea for her to stroll through.

The Speed Racer

These are the walkers that loom up behind you, then pace walk with you side by side breathing heavily then overtake and pass you and win the gold medal on the podium afterwards

The best one of all: The serendipitous no-names-exchanged friendship

One of the loveliest experiences I had last week was finishing my late arvo walk along the Shelly Beach – Kings Beach headland route and I excitedly spotted the P&O Aria cruise ship majestically floating past in the distance. I meandered off the path to allow myself the meditative time to watch it and a lady silently came and stood beside me in a very gentle nonintrusive way:

Pacific Dawn off Caloundra in the evening with golden sun shining off her side
Pacific Dawn off Caloundra

“My son and his family are on that ship” the lovely stranger gently murmurs very aware to allow me my space on the planet too.

The conversation naturally then went back and forth about the virtues of a cruise ship holiday and general pleasurable chit-chat. We eventually walked a little way back up the hill together – she to her car, me on my way home along the path, never exchanging names or any other personal information and yet finding comfort in human contact and conversation that afternoon.

“See you on the next cruise” she called out as we waved goodbye. Something tells me stranger things have happened and I just might bump into her on a cruise ship one day, I hope so.

A sign above a door in the Shakespeare Bookshop in Paris, "Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise"
Shakespeare Bookshop in Paris, Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise

The funniest thing of all is recognising all of these walkers in myself! I have been every single one of these walkers depending what day you find me walking the various beautiful Sunny Coast routes… if you pass me though, I’d really appreciate a nod and a friendly hello, or a simple ‘Morning’ – it gets me to my destination cafe faster somehow ha! The simple pleasurable exchanges that you may give to someone on a low day or the pleases, thank you’s, excuse me’s and a big smile can really make someone’s day. Just try it. I’m going to.

Currimundi Walk

If only a painting could talk…

Image of Mont Python's Terry Gillums's Mona Lisa moving Mouth
Terry Gilliam’s Mona Lisa

Several years ago Banx painted a very interesting piece entitled Facade.

We chatted the other day about this particular painting that was exhibited and sold in Sydney and Banx said mysteriously as he started the painting a face started to appear in the background of the canvas so he painted it in! (Maybe it was something to do with the haunted Surry Hills terrace house we were staying in at the time of the Exhibition ha! who knows!)

Anyway it sold in Sydney to a collector and a few years later out of the blue we received an email from…. someone in Italy (!!) whom we had never heard of, who tracked Banx down from Google to ask if this was his painting as they had now acquired it and loved it! We wrote back but sadly never heard from them again…

It was an exciting email to receive out of the blue as my imagination ran riot, trying to imagine the “journey” Facade and in particular the man in the painting had been on in order to arrive in Italy!

Image of the painting called Facade by Banx MC5974
Facade by Banx MC5974

Who does the man in the painting stare at now? A family? A young Italian stallion bachelor? A mature Italian business woman? He once stared at Banx and I and then a collector in Sydney… did he get into a suitcase on an aeroplane to Italy?? If only he could call us and tell us his amazing journey from the studio at New Farm (back in the day) to his new wall position in Italy! What sort of home has he ended up in?

I often think of the journeys of artworks – all over the world – but in particular closer to home and Banx’s paintings we have rented or sold over the years up to now. “Oh the places you’ll go” as the Dr Seuss children’s book so aptly says !

Banx travelled to outback Australia a few years ago on an artist’s remote camp at Ruby Gap (about 135km east of Alice Springs) and I met up with him afterwards at Uluru, for my very first trip (I’m ashamed to admit as a 5th generation Aussie) to the amazing Aussie iconic natural wonderland. He came back to Brissie afterwards and painted for The Ruby Gap under Canvas Gallery Joint Exhibition 2013

using some of the dry red earth to mix his exquisite paint colours. One such painting was Room with a View – Ruby Gap 2013, which was later requested and donated to his old boarding school in Scotland and is now part of their collection in Elgin! From dry dusty scorched earthy imaginings at Ruby Gap to freezing cold Scotland – if only that painting could talk and send us a quick text about the “readjustment”!

Room with a View - Ruby Gap 2013
Room with a View – Ruby Gap 2013

It works the other way around as well: last December we travelled to the beautiful heritage-listed town of old Hoi An in Vietnam. We love supporting local artists on our travels and we were both mesmerised by an extremely talented and humble street artist early one evening. We purchased one of his beautiful painting:

We returned the next day.. and the day after.. and the day after that.. but he never reappeared again whilst we were in Hoi An.. if only that painting could talk.

I was thinking paintings live on long after the painter and subsequent collectors pass on until I remembered Banksy self-shredded a painting as soon as the auction hammer struck the table. Maybe paintings do have a finite life after all.. they certainly rise from the almost-dead almost-lost-forever pile with the recent Klimt “Portrait of a Lady” found in its original gallery garden 23 years after it was stolen!

It seems the life and death and life again of a painting is sometimes and often as varied and interesting and mysterious as human lives… I wonder where Banx’s Facade will journey to next, or will the mysterious man in the painting live out his infinite days in Italy? Cheers and Saluti

Montemartre artist covering his face whilst sitting next to a self portrait
Montemartre artist covering his face whilst sitting next to a self portrait.

From Paddock to Palette…..

One of the greatest privileges of living and working up here on the Sunshine Coast are our daily early morning long walks.

Sanctuary by Banx art on the easel

Banx prefers his 15,000 steps from Moffat to Currimundi Lake via Dicky Beach and Coondibah Creek along the rainforest coastal walking path, the Annette Corridor, where he regularly sees the rare Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (and once or twice a baby snake!) eeks! The path meanders past amazing vegetation and loooooong stretches of deserted beaches and birdlife.

I can’t keep up with his vigorous long strides (and there’s not enough coffee stops with artist Banx!) so I head off in a different direction (healthy for any relationship, right? ha!) and my walking path is either via Moffat Beach over the headland (that hill is steep!), onto Shelly Beach and beyond to Kings Beach with my fave coffee stops at Coffee Cat at Kings Beach and Happy Turtle Cafe at Happy Valley, and then back along that mesmerising meandering headland to Shelly Beach and back home to Moffat.

When we meet up later on our back deck, we are always SO excited to share what we have seen on our walk that morning – funny stories about dogs or kids, descriptions and gestures of birds we aren’t sure of (Banx has written to Bird Life Australia sending pics to identify birds that have dropped into our garden like the Pallid Cuckoo and the Pheasant Coucal, trying to recreate to each other the sheer beauty and magnitude of what we’ve observed and witnessed that morning – and it’s always new and different and changing from what we’d seen the day before. Or what we’ll experience the next day.. and the day after.. and the day after that…

…So I wasn’t the least bit surprised to read this statistic in the Sunday paper a few weeks ago!

Sunday Paper cutting – benefits of art

Nature is SO inspiring! On so many levels – its hardly surprising artists like Banx literally rush back in to the studio and start re-creating all those things in a scene that they felt, smelt, touched… the “stories” and beauty of Nature they just observed and were privileged to witness first hand.

From paddock to palette.. from walks through exquisite natural landscapes to paints, palettes, easel and gallery… thank you Nature – you inspire us daily!

Got your Back by Banx 1300x900mm MC6795
Got your Back by Banx 1300x900mm MC6795 $2970 to buy $89.10 a month to rent

To see more nature-inspired and beautiful landscape paintings by Banx click HERE

 And… “Let some Sunshine In!”

Life’s a Beach……

Livin’ the dream! We all are! How lucky are we to live in Australia ( a good reminder as Australia Day approaches, not too far away) – most Aussies along the East coast live within relatively easy reach of a beach and can catch a wave or a good dose of Vitamin Sea when life and work commitments allow.

A lot of us have been fortunate enough to travel to some far flung exotic destinations over the years and every single time I come back saying over and over again “we have the best beaches in the world in Oz” as I wash my sandy feet under our outdoor shower.

Outside shower
Outside shower

A neighbour of ours up here at beautiful Moffs was telling us recently that they have a friend from Croatia who bought a beach over there (yep! bought one!) and makes his living from renting it out along with beach parasols, chairs, even ice creams. (he better not have his eye on Moffat!) And what about those beaches in Italy and France with lots of rocky terrain where you have to pay to even step foot on the rocks! Long live Aussie beaches, the greatest equalizer in the world where CEO’s sit in their boardies alongside uni students, Tradies and Judges all sharing the same beautiful piece of paradise.

Our daily mindful fave walks up here are for me over the headland or for Mike, through the beachy rainforest to Currimundi constantly inspire our creative juices – and we’re not fair-weather friends to Moffs, we love all her moods (and boy does she have some!)

Storm over Moffat Beach
Storm over Moffat Beach

Nothing better than sitting and watching storm clouds move in or hopping in the van in the pouring rain to see what the waves are doing on a full moon. Sitting on a beach seat with our visiting Aunt from the UK one night after dinner in the village watching the moon in companionable silence is up there as one of life’s highlights: “sometimes me sits and thinks, sometimes me just sits”.

So it’s NO surprise that Banx loves getting stuck into Coastal inspired paintings back in the studio when we are literally swimming in creative stimulation at Moffat and beyond. Here are a few of Banx’s pieces

What’s the best part of being at the beach? Maybe its just “the beach feel” that feels good!

High Rollers by Banx 2200x1000mm MC6803
High Rollers by Banx 2200x1000mm MC6803 $5390 to buy $161.70 a month to rent

Hello Art Lovers!

Hello and Welcome to Sunshine Art Studio.

Thank you for visiting Sunshine Art Studio, the home of Banx the artist.

Come on a journey with us and see inside the “mysterious artist’s studio” where all the messy arty action happens, resulting in beautiful original paintings for you to enjoy. 

Mike Banks (aka Queensland artist Banx) and Kaye Fox have been running their Moving Canvas Art Gallery in Brisbane for over 16 years, servicing corporate and residential collectors and lovers of art locally, interstate and overseas.

Ten years ago the lure of the Sunshine Coast was too much (who can resist all that sunshine, surf, sand and sea as artists, right?!) and together we fell in love with a little bungalow cottage at beautiful Moffat Beach. Our creative life and collaboration together found a home.

Banx had been painting all his life and set about building his dream art studio in amongst the backyard jungle of native orchids, gum trees, cockatoos, lorikeets, and kookaburras.

Orchid outside the gallery
Orchid outside the gallery

From here he has created hundreds of original paintings inspired by his environs and daily long walks and surfs. (He even spotted the rare black cockatoos last week).

But wait there’s more! This is also where he’s built original and funky possum boxes, restored furniture for their boho deck, and collaborated on many other interesting projects, books and goodies with creative partner Kaye.

Come on in and see what 2020 has in store for Sunshine Art Studio – from original paintings and books, to commissions, collaborations and writing/illustrating workshops. No project is too large or too small, from supplying art for foyers and curating the art for developers and renos, and when it comes time to sell, through to cute small pet portraits and pop-ups where you least expect them, it’s all on the arty radar this year.

Anyway, have a good look around the studio here online and the gallery and contact us if you like what you see – we’d love to hear from you. Start your own art collection today (we offer rental or purchase) or just enjoy browsing. Viewing art is a great way to relaaaaax.

All of Banx’s artworks are ready-to-hang original art on stretched canvas, and if you see something you like, we bring the art to you, to your home or office and hang it for you as part of our service. Commissions usually take around 3-4 weeks.

So…..Let some Sunshine in! (and the surf… and the sea… )

Excuse us, in the meantime Banx has to get back to the easel! There’s paintings to be painted..

Kaye and Mike
Sunshine Art Studio