Brain training exercise for children (La mirada de Ocho).
Oil on canvas, 50 H x 70 W cm/ 19.7 H x 27.6 W in
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Izquierdo identity in 2012

Looking back at negative occurrences, which ended up positively, 20 years later and say “How wonderful that they happened”, is no brainer.
The challenge is to recognize the positive potential outcome of such occurrences as they happen, and to act in order to achieve it.
In the beginning of 2012, with a bunch of stressful situations in the background, I experienced a serious physical discomfort. A nasty bothering back pain, which began during two days of flights, took over my body. Later, it became worse, and would not let go for a few months. I could barely sit, and to stand straight was unbearable. It made many of the daily tasks very challenging, if not impossible. Especially sitting in front of the computer and driving the car. While painting has always been my cure and refuge, I encountered a new obstacle when I came to paint. As one Orthopedic Doctor explained to me, a pinched nerve in my spine caused a significant lost of strength and numbness in my right hand and fingers, which made painting very difficult.
Although it was very frustrating, I knew that it won’t stop me from painting. My experience with previous challenging situations taught me that unusual difficulties are great inspiration. I decided to grab the opportunity and improve the capabilities of my left hand. Before that occurrence, I painted with my left hand very rarely, in order to produce naive, uncontrollable painting style, like an unskilled person or a child. Since my right hand lost its skill, I hoped to reach a higher level of innocence through my left hand, and began experimenting right away. Later that night, when I completed the first works with my left hand, I intuitively signed them as Izquierdo, my new left handed identity. It is quite embarrassing, but for the sake of transparency, I have to mention that Izquierdo in Spanish means the left side, not left handed, and it is indeed a convicting evidence of my poor Spanish. Only a few days later, I learned that Zurdo is the right word for left handed, but since I wanted to document my error and liked the Izquierdo sound better, I decided to stick with it. Izquierdo produced 29 paintings, utilizing mostly my left hand. I must admit though, that from time to time, Izquierdo got a bit of help from my right hand, specifically when painting tiny details.
After a few months, I recovered. I could sit comfortably again, and my right hand gradually gained strength and dominance. The Izquierdo period taught me that I underestimated and misused my left hand, that parts of our body can be trained rather fast, and that skill can be acquired. Ever since, I use my left hand much more in my work and in a variety of daily tasks. My left hand paints differently than my right one. It is less educated, less obedient, therefore better connected to my subconscious. The visual result tends to be more raw, primitive, and refreshing, and I think it enriches my work with a very basic and ancient human experience. Discovering an additional hand I can use, and a raw painting style, is the positive outcome of the pain I experienced.
Nobody invites pain into her/his life. But should it happen (and whining doesn’t help), we must search for inspiration and channel our energy to create a positive outcome.