Friedensreich Hundertwasser is one of my favourite artists. His work is organic, colourful, quirky and original and a direct response to the grey linearity of his home city of Vienna. Apart from making some revolutionary paintings and buildings, including some very fine public toilets at KawaKawa New Zealand, he was quite the thinker. His architectural work arose from his theory of the five skins which surround a human being. These are:
- Planet Earth
As you can see each level corresponds to a wider environment around us. Hundertwasser knew that our personal environments matter, each and every one of them from the nearest and most personal, the skin on our bodies, to the widest of all, our planet, and each affects us in a very different but equally critical way.
If we want to do good work, as an artist, creator or entrepreneur these things need to be sympathetic for us as individuals, especially the first four. At different times of our lives each layer may also take on a different level of importance. As teenagers our clothing is often a priority, but later in life our focus may become wider and we may be more fixed on planetary concerns.
We need to feel comfortable in our own skin to be able to express our unique ideas well. Are we in good health so that we can go about our day to day business without any hindrances? On any particular day do we need to feel relaxed, powerful, funny, creative? – our clothing should reflect this. Our housing must be appropriate to our needs, spacious, cozy, stimulating, serene, to allow us to express our creativity. Our relationships with those about us – do they nurture and support us or are they damaging? And lastly are we nurturing and supporting our planet to allow it to provide us with the natural environments we so desperately need?
For me personally this means my environment must be nurturing. I need to feel calm, ordered and serene. I need my environment to be beautiful. To look out on a busy city street would be a kind of death for me, I need to see trees, mountains and birds, so skins number three and five are crucial. Skin number two, clothing definitely needs more work and doesn’t express the real me, but I’m working on it.
Where I’m going with this post is that we all need to take responsibility for our personal environments, our five skins, so that we can make the most of our time here on earth. So that we can create, make, invent, explore and adventure ourselves into the fullest expressions of ourselves. So that we can add our contributions towards the betterment of humanity and so that ultimately we can leave our world better for us having been here.