Pamela Dzaet Hill: How Agoraphobia Birthed a Painter

Pamela Dzaet Hill, painter, USA:

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“I was agoraphobic for most of my life, beginning in my twenties and ending around the fifty-year mark. That is why you will rarely see a landscape in any of my paintings, I don’t really know what it looks like. I don’t understand it. People, on the other hand, I understand. Perhaps that is why I ‘see’ emotions as much as I feel them.

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I visited my first museum about two years ago. I was stunned at what I saw: the beauty, the emotion, the techniques. I had no one in my life to encourage my art, or to explain the ABC’s of painting. I believe with all that I am that regardless of whether a human receives guidance or teaching in any of the creative arts, if it lies within them, it will develop on its own. After all, there are many many artists who spend years learning their craft, only to fail miserably when it comes time to create. I would much rather have the ability to create in the mind’s eye, than to be able to reproduce it on linen.

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The collective unconscious, or collective consciousness, or even the Akashic Records, I see them as all the same and that we have the ability to tap into that collectiveness at any time, through meditation, dreams, intuition, even imagination. It is the corporate office of the Divine, if you will. The brain of God, where all is stored. That is where I truly believe that many of my paintings have come from.

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I began painting to see if I could. By the third painting, something had taken over, and I was expressing the anger and misery of a turbulent childhood. Those early paintings were in your face pieces, as I never intended for anyone to see them. They were for me, my personal journey of acceptance and healing.

"The Beauty and Her Beasts," Pamela Dzaet Hill

“The Beauty and Her Beasts,” Pamela Dzaet Hill

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 I knew what I wanted to say in ‘The Beauty and Her Beasts’ painting, and when I searched for a reference photo, it was one of Dragan’s photos (view Andrzej Dragon‘s work in the Combustus issue, “Leaving Normal: When Art Disturbs” ) that spoke to me. The vulnerability, the pose, it was all there. I then used that pose and continued to tell my story. His quote completely resonates with me, I suppose many of the pieces that I do could be considered extremely private, forcing people to look in until something resonates with them, and they then become part of the painting themselves. It becomes their story.

The Curious Case of the Recurring Childhood Dream
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As a child, my nightmares of the bear was immensely frightening. The beast was extremely aggressive, and I always escaped the bear’s attack by awakening just in time. I know now that this creature represented my mother, which whom I have been estranged for almost twelve years. She lives just one mile from me, yet we have no contact. I suppose that the ‘gentleness’ that you perceived was my acceptance of what was, what is, and most likely will be. The healing that has taken place. I was told by a local psychic, Joy Talley, a few months ago, that my mother would die this year. It was a struggle to come to terms with this possibility, to know what to do. Thus the painting was born. Yes, I suppose I have found peace with her.

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I see everything in pictures. The raven began showing up in my paintings, and physically began appearing in my life, and I was as surprised as anyone, and quite curious.

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"A Personal Hell," Pamela Dzaet

“A Personal Hell,” Pamela Dzaet

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Upon reading about the raven, I discovered that it represents a messenger, and rebirth. I wish I could explain my painting process… I feel something, see a picture, and paint it. I sometimes don’t even realize that I am holding the paintbrush, but am guided by something outside of myself. Each painting is a gift to me, and to anyone else who resonates with it. I simply cannot take any credit. This has always been. I suppose it started when I began.


"Miata Affair," Pamela Dzaet Hill


I call truth our personal paintings, as we all perceive things differently, and work on our paintings for our entire life. Sometimes we add the same color or paint-stroke as someone else, but it is fleeting at best. In this human form, we like to count on and believe in our personal paintings, however, I have learned that each new day can take our paintings in a totally different direction. I have come to the place that what I count on, and hold on to is the very fact that things are temporary, and constantly changing. That, for me, is solid, it is true, it is constant, as I have found perfect order in the chaos. Perfect strength in the ever-changing painting.

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"The Healer," Pamela Dzaet

“The Healer,” Pamela Dzaet

When it comes to painting, I am certainly not the best, nor ever will be, but the messages are perfect, because they come from above or ‘out there’. I simply channel what I see, which is born from what I feel. I have learned a great deal from the paintings, as they are messages for me too.

"A Personal Hell," Pamela Dzaet

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Hell exists within our mind…period. We create either heaven or hell for ourselves. As far as the girl in this particular piece, she is unable to find her heaven, because she lives in her mind, she learns with her mind, she listens with her mind. She is separated from her heart, where true knowledge, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and love exists. I am still in the process of learning to listen to that intuitive voice within, that voice that emanates from our very being, not from listening to the earth-bound knowledge that humanity has created for itself.

"The Transformation," Pamela Dzaet

“The Transformation,” Pamela Dzaet

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‘The Transformation’ is about death, or the change that we will all go through. What you are sensing in the painting was that at that point in my life, I believed that we never really died, but this knowing had not yet reached my heart. Although I was quite adept at reciting the latest book on death, a realization from within had not yet occurred. I was still unsure, afraid. Now, for the most part, I am more curious than afraid, anxious to experience what is out there.

"The Ghost of Sorrows Past," Pamela Dzaet

“The Ghost of Sorrows Past,” Pamela Dzaet

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The Ghost of Sorrows Past:

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This one painting embodies what I do, or at the very least what I did when I first picked up the brush. I painted the ghosts of my past sorrows. It is an interesting question: ‘Must wisdom be always gained through pain?’ I believe that statement to be true. For without suffering, we could never recognize the good. Through suffering, we grow, we learn to find that inner strength that would otherwise lay dormant.  We begin to create, which is our purpose while here. We create solutions, we create answers, we create understanding, peace, love…we ultimately create our heaven while visiting this planet. Suffering is a learning process, something to be embraced with the understanding of its purpose, and the willingness to not only accept it, but to create our own individual way out of it.

"The Tree of Knowleddge of Good and Evil," Pamela Dzaet

“The Tree of Knowleddge of Good and Evil”

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The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil:

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We are all tempted. The human ego is alive and well, eh? The goal is to insist that the ego take the back seat, and the soul take the driver’s seat. Easier said than done. Right when I think I am walking the spiritual path I desire, the ego is always there to remind me that I am a human being, and that the perfection that we all desire is simply unobtainable in this lifetime. Love. Learning to love the ego, and all of its frailties, helps us to smile when it rears its head, to accept it in love, and keep moving forward.

"Intuition," Pamela Dzaet Hill

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Intuition:

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Practice. Experience. By practicing listening to the intuitive voice, acting on it, and then most importantly watching the outcome, we learn the subtle differences in our motivation. Intent is always one of the most important aspects of any spiritual experience. And remembering that there is no right and no wrong, no good and no evil. It just is. Walking the middle road, without judgement or taking sides is the answer. If your intuition comes from a place of fear, is it really intuition, or are we simply telling ourselves what we want to hear? And does it really matter in the end? Looking within is looking at divinity, in all its aspects. We want to believe that divinity is perfect, I sometimes wonder if that is true. After all, if we are here to experience the divine, then how could the divine be whole? Or perfect? These are my questions to you. As far as children being intuitive? Of course they are. We all are; we are born with the ability. Some of us can tap into that at a very young age, others it takes a lifetime, and still others, will not learn in this lifetime. It always bounces back to our heart’s desire, and intent.

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"The Key," Pamela Dzaet

“The Key,” Pamela Dzaet

Ah, ‘The Key’. It tells a story. A story of a child who was separated from the rest of the family. A child who could never find the key to her mother’s heart. A child who was imprisoned by a mother who was full of resentment and jealousy. In contrast, two sisters that were effortlessly accepted, and who owned shiny new keys. Today, as I explain the story, I don’t resonate with it at all. It was what it was, each person playing their role perfectly, bringing me to who I am at this very moment. Bitterness turned to appreciative love.”

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To see more of Pamela’s work, visit her website at: http://www.dzaet.com

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16 comments on “Pamela Dzaet Hill: How Agoraphobia Birthed a Painter

  1. I have followed Pamela’s art right from the very beginning. I remember those early works, full of raw emotion, yet incredibly compelling, evoking a wide range of emotions; they seem so long ago yet really are not. And over the past few years, watching and enjoying the journey as her work evolves away from this and into the spiritual path we see today has been an incredible experience.

    Simply a great artist who never ceases to surprise me

  2. beautifully melancholic with a sense of imprisonment and lonliness after 9 years of agoraphobia 15 years ago, this touches me.

    • So glad you stopped by, Tash.
      I think we all need at some point in our lives to step back and gather resources, thoughts, psychic and creative energy. Heal. Something powerful and unexpected always results. I imagine it did for you as well. x

  3. Oh, how I loved finding this today. Much of your story is so much like my own, that for me, it was refreshing to read. Your work is so personal, so…..raw in the sense that the viewer is not “shielded” from truth–it’s all out there, more concerned with emotion rather than just pretty eye candy. Which is not to say the paintings are not beautiful–they are stunningly gorgeous, but with varying strong emotion that unlocks doors, and brings us into rooms inside ourselves that are full of cobwebs, and more or less DARK…..that speaks to me. Painting while not being aware of holding your brush–being moved by an outside force–I know that feeling too!!! Do you ever see your paintings, already finished in dreams, before you even start to paint them? That’s where a lot of mine come from.
    Being disconnected from family, being a self-taught artist without knowing where the skill of the art “came from”–I can relate to all of this too. I think of it this way: when we are deprived of nurturing and “bonding” as children, something must rush in, to fill that void, like water fills a hole in the ground, and things begin to grow there. It is what we are given in order to survive. Medicine that comes from inside ourselves, to heal us, and ultimately, others around us too.

    • Thankyou so much Diane… You see? This is why I do what I do. People ask all the time, “How can you put your private life out there?”. I do it now, because of people like you. I have held many a crying woman at one of my art shows, who saw something in one of the paintings that resonated deep within themselves. I have met so many interesting, wonderful, and yes, hurting people in the last 2 years. It is my “purpose” if you will. To help others, to stir conversation, to even help people begin to heal … including myself! I am so happy to have had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with you. It sounds as though you may have found your purpose also… dont take it lightly ♥

  4. Very unique work. One of the few times when the actual painting is separated from the story or message. The artwork is similar to prose in my mind. The paint serves the same purpose as ink to the written word. A vehicle rather than a destination. Very beautiful. Thank you

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