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“Bend and Not Brake,” says Tao Te Ching.
This motto motivates Rod Heiss to paint. In his early years, due to undiagnosed eye problems, he was unable to learn the way most children do. School was difficult and defeating. He was constantly being reminded of his differences and being told “YOU CAN’T DO THIS” or “YOU CAN’T DO THAT.” Rod turned to working with his hands to compensate for the lack of confidence school created.
A new world opened up for him, a world that lacked barriers. Now it seemed that anything was possible. He began a new path of learning how to learn. And this is when his creative instincts began to take root. Years of unstructured training brought a new understanding of how to bring ideas together and see them to completion.
A defining moment occurred one restless evening. He was watching television and saw a documentary on Jackson Pollock. This two-hour program was a revelation to him. An overwhelming desire to paint took hold. Without fear, he attacked canvases like Pollock, using his style as a foundation. Soon, however, Rod found his own vocabulary and imitation turned to unique creation. He enrolled in the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he learned to channel his raw ability. This resulted in years of creativity in painting and sculpture.
Then life got in the way. Painting and sculpture stopped. He started to bend again.
In a particularly dark period of paralyzing fear and self-doubt, Rod turned back to art.