Discipline and Art

Art is just one of those words that is impossible to define. There are so many different versions of what it means that it almost becomes a mirror. Whether revered or reviled, people see what they want to see in it.


For me, it is the practice of any number of expressive forms. It could be painting, sculpture, surfing, ready-mades, installations, ceramics, ballet or basket-weaving: you name it. It all counts as art to me. Some of it I love, some of it is not for me. I consider it all art.


As a photographer and painter, I have always been interested in the human form as a subject. We are so much more than our bodies, but we are also always embodied in the flesh. And, there are so many miraculous things about that, from the way we heal and recover, to the variety of ways we look and feel. Bodies are endlessly intriguing from a formal perspective.


For these reasons, I enjoy working with people who are in touch with their bodies, those who are confident and feel good about themselves. Recently, I had the pleasure to work with someone who is a consummate professional when it comes to her physique. She is a professional trainer and a gold medal winning body builder. She is Gillian Youngof GYB Strength.


After spending a couple of hours finding cool compositions on the beach and around the dramatic rocky cliffs of Carmel, I was totally sold on this woman’s approach to fitness. She sees it as an art. Like many of my favorite artists, she is obsessed with the challenges of the discipline. She puts everything she has, every ounce of her being, every watt of her energy into accomplishing her goal. Yet, she has a carefree and easygoing way of moving through the world.


I had the opportunity to meet up with her a second time, this time to see her in action as a trainer. Sometimes the best way to be an effective teacher is to be really good at your craft. It’s contagious. There’s nothing more motivating than seeing someone who is getting the results that they want. It makes you want to do the same. I could tell that the group of women she works with admire her professionalism and boy oh boy did they get a good workout.


Gillian is less than a month out from competition and this is the most challenging time of her training. It is very much like a fighter preparing for the match. And, as much as it’s her body that she’s training you can very quickly tell that it’s her mind that is driving the process. She’s one of these rare people who has brains, beauty and brawn.  It’s exciting to follow her path on Instagram and you know who I will be rooting for when it’s time to get on stage.

Leave a Reply