Dr. Christopher Stanich was among a group of several physicians that participated in the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit that concluded Friday at the Albany Museum of Art. One of his submitted works was a star-shaped urn that he had made for a close friend.
ALBANY, Ga. — Dr. Christopher Stanich, a podiatrist, had never had his works on display before. But, when one of his partners insisted on him doing so, he gave in.
For him, this made the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit at the Albany Museum of Art such a good opportunity.
“I was also interested to see what the other doctors were into,” he said.
Stanich had three metal sculptures, which are meant to be urns, on display during the exhibit’s run, which ended Friday. One is shaped like a star, which will be used for a friend of his.
“She is sick, and she asked me to make an urn for her ashes,” he said. “She asked me to make a star, because that is her favorite shape.”
The star took six months to complete. There were also two crosses of Stanich’s at the museum, which will serve as urns for himself as well as a family member who has been collecting crosses since she was a young adult.
During the last few years, he has also sculpted other things from metal, such as a bar for a friend’s custom motorcycle and initials for his nieces and nephews.
While he’s only been doing this regularly for three years, it’s something he’s always been interested in taking up. He had no formal training in art or welding.
He just bought some equipment and began experimenting.
“I don’t consider myself an artist, and I’m humbled to have (had) my work displayed — and to have it there with other pieces,” Stanich said.
He has also done woodwork, having constructed tables.
His working with metal, which also includes making decorations out of leftover scrap metal, goes back as far as age 15, when he was assembling race cars.
“I’ve always had the urge to do something expressive for myself,” Stanich said.
The podiatrist spends six days a week in a shop with his equipment, some of which he constructed himself.
It’s a practice he refers to as his “therapy.”
“A lot of it is real internal,” he said. “It is a means of self-expression.”
This urge is something that may have also come out of the variety of careers he held before going into medicine including iron working, the military, ministry and construction.
“I’ve had this in me all along,” Stanich said. I’ve just suppressed it.”
Now that he has had the courage to put his works on display, Stanich said it is something that he would be willing to do again.
“It has given me more confidence, and has inspired me to do it more,” he said. “It’s gratifying that there are people out there that appreciate it (my work).
“It has also been nice to interact with some of the other physicians and art museum staff.”
Dr. Devell Young, an internist, had some paintings he was particularly proud of that he wished to have displayed.
“These are physicians that have gone beyond what they are typically known for doing,” he said of those who contributed to the exhibit.
He submitted two acrylic paintings to “Art of Health and Healing.” One was of an ancient mosque in north Africa.
“I have seen that mosque many times in pictures,” Young said. “It was built in the 15th century, and has undergone renovations.
“It is made (primarily) from mud, and since there is little rain there, it has been preserved for many generations. The general shape of it has remained the same.”
There was another painting of his at the exhibit with the word “Exodus” in it, which was an improvisational piece.
“Usually my pieces are planned, but the ‘Exodus’ picture was me walking up to the canvas and doing something,” the internist said. “As I began to put paint on the canvas, I began to see people walking through a swamp.”
Young has created roughly 10 paintings, most of which center on African themes. He was compelled to start the work when he felt he needed something special to pass on to future generations.
“When I made it to 40, I realized the world was going by rapidly,” he said. “I began to think of what I could do to leave something behind.”
That’s not to say that it took 40 years for him to develop a creative urge.
“I’ve always been a creative person,” Young said. “My father was a woodworker, and would build things for various people in the neighborhood. I always assisted him.
“I also doodled and drew, but it wasn’t until high school that I developed an interest in art.”
He actually developed an interest in wood craving, but had to give it up.
“I was very interested in wood craving when I came to Albany,” Young said. “I even was able to go to Nigeria and get some extra tools, but it caused my wrist to get tight.”
Having no formal art training, Young used pastels that his brother had brought home from college.
He continued drawing in college, as well as in medical school.
Then, at age 40, he was left alone while his family went on a vacation to Hilton Head Island that he could not attend.
He pulled out his daughter’s paint set and went to work.
“I was impressed that I could paint,” Young said. “We all have gifts we don’t know we have until we try.”
He has done a few oil paintings, but he sticks primarily to acrylics. As the genealogist in his family, he has been tasked with a project for his upcoming family reunion that has kept him from his paintings.
But, he does intend to return to the canvas.
“My painting has been put on hold for a year, but I will pick up the brush again,” the physician said. “There is actually a piece I am working on now.”
While his works have been on display before, the recent exhibit was the first in which his art had been made public in that kind of setting.
“People now realize that we do more than just practice medicine,” Young said of the exhibit’s participating physicians. “They realize we have multi-talented individuals here. (The exhibit) brought out the point that those that participated in it do have other talents besides medicine.
“There are some other pieces I would like to show off. I was just happy to have the opportunity to do it (display works in an exhibit); I hope to do it in the future.”