I always tell my patients that performing rhinoplasty surgery, eyelid surgery and facelift surgery is more art than science. Every day I have the good fortune of being a human sculptor whether it’s in surgery or for Botox and Juvéderm filler.
Last week I had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. I spent the week at the Vytlacil campus of The Art Students League of New York learning to sculpt from a master sculptor. Mr. Gary Sussman , a highly acclaimed artist and sculptor, is the director of the Vytlacil campus. Gary and renowned sculptor Dr. Steven Neal directed a week long intensive sculpture course for me and five of my facial plastic colleagues to broaden our understanding of the complex interrelationship between art and science. Physicians and artists share the same initial concerns that are to understand life and the human condition. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of plastic surgery. As is the case for the portrait or figurative artist, every cosmetic and reconstructive procedure requires the plastic surgeon to have an intimate knowledge and understanding of the human anatomy and its relationship to what we see on the outside.
At the course we learned by sculpting the portrait of a live model eight hours a day for four days. I was definitely exercising the right side of my brain but this is what I do every day in my practice. Sculpture, like plastic surgery, Botox and dermal filler injections strengthen the sympatric connection between my eyes, brain and hands.
Many years ago, before children, I studied clay sculpture and stone carving. I believe this enhanced my surgical abilities particularly with Columbus rhinoplasty, reconstructive rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery and facelift surgery. It would be a valuable experience for anyone studying facial plastic surgery.
This course has renewed my passion for the arts. Once I have completed my portrait I look forward to it being bronzed and sharing it with my patients and staff at The Sullivan Centre.